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A Fathers4Justice campaigner has been found guilty of defacing a portrait of the Queen with purple paint while it was hanging in Westminster Abbey.

Blair's champion draws angry response with account of the war and its aftermath

The Blair government received a drubbing last night during a lively public debate on the aftermath of the Iraq war organised by The Independent, 11 days before elections in the country.

Birtwistle Games final concert, Westminster Abbey, London

The final concert in the comprehensive Birtwistle Games festival, which the South Bank Centre and related organisations have been coordinating for the composer's 70th birthday, exemplified several of his compositional preoccupations in its very programming.

Mystery of the missing coronation loo rolls

The crowning of a monarch is planned to the minutest detail. But when it came to the coronation of Elizabeth II, it seems civil servants failed to allow for lavatory-paper pilfering.

Porter hands over £12m to end 'homes for votes' scandal

The Westminster "homes for votes" scandal came to a long-overdue conclusion yesterday when it emerged that Dame Shirley Porter, the council's former Tory leader, had handed over £12.3m to settle the affair.

Sacred monsters of a church in crisis

Easter by Michael Arditti (Arcadia, £11.99, 390pp)

time lapse: The ascent of man

Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection was published 140 years ago this month, in November 1859. A relatively short, populist work, it was penned in a hurry to beat the publication of a rival tome. It immediately became a bestseller, and it is Darwin's name which is now for ever associated with evolutionary theory. Chinese-born Daniel Lee's digitally morphed Origin (right), currently on show in Portugal, is an imaginative and, as he confesses, a not-altogether scientific expression of Darwin's ideas, charting an evolutionary journey from the rare Coelacanth fish through reptile and ape to human. There are no immediate plans to show Lee's work in Kansas, however, where the State Board of Education decided in August to purge references to evolution from the school curriculum, the latest victory in the battle being waged in the US by the Creationists, religious fundamentalists who deny the evidence of fossils and species variation to assert the literal truth of Genesis. Ironically, Darwin himself, who agonised about the profound implications for Christianity of his work, is buried in Westminster Abbey.

Scots set up a battle of the bards

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S days as the world's foremost literary figure could be numbered if supporters of Scotland's national bard, Robert Burns, have their way. They have formed a public limited company, comprising 60,000 "shareholders", with the aim of replacing Stratford-upon-Avon's favourite son with the farmer from Alloway, Ayrshire.

Refugees of Blitz tie their labels again

ON 3 SEPTEMBER 1939 more than a million children gathered at railway stations ready to be evacuated to the country for the duration of the war.

Right of Reply: James Hall

The art critic responds to Philip Hensher's views on new statues for Trafalgar Square
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Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect