Arts and Entertainment

“The running total is 171.1 miles, not quite halfway,” groans Mason after the District Line, though this reader had the thought that no one forced him to do an overground trek of the Underground.

Bishop Samuel Ruiz: Liberation theologian who championed the cause of the Mayan Indians in Mexico

When I interviewed Bishop Samuel Ruiz for The Independent in the picturesque southern Mexican town of San Cristóbal de las Casas in August 1993, he told me the poverty-stricken Mayan Indians of his parish were getting restless and some had taken up arms. He introduced me to a young man – "just call me Juan" – who spoke of a new armed group called the Emiliano Zapata Peasant Organisation (EZP0), named after Mexico's peasant and revolutionary leader of the early 20th Century but styled after Peru's Shining Path guerrillas.

Hundreds say farewell to musician Gerry Rafferty

Gerry Rafferty's daughter said farewell to her father by singing one of his songs at his funeral today.

Let's float that idea... Boris's 2012 biosphere

A futuristic floating park has been proposed for the 2012 Olympics and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Deborah Ross: Horoscopes don't come better than this

If you ask me...

Fezeka's Voice (PG)

You'd have to be quite flint-hearted not to be touched by the energy and commitment of Phumi Tsewu, choirmaster at Fezeka High School in Gugulethu, South Africa.

Album: Gardiner, Santiago A Cappella (Soli Deo Gloria)

John Eliot Gardiner's prodigious output continues apace, with the recent Brahms 4th Symphony and an imminent further pair of his exhaustive pilgrimage series of Bach cantatas - surely the biggest current undertaking in any area of music - joined here by the reissue on his own label of another pilgrimage programme.

The golden boy: Countertenor Iestyn Davies talks high notes, low moments and hissy fits

The soaring tones of the countertenor may be a throwback to medieval church music, but the recital hipsters can’t get enough of it.

Full text of Pope's sermon

This is the full sermon delivered by Pope Benedict XVI during Holy Mass at London's Westminster Cathedral today.

William Golding, By John Carey

Golding may have been pursued by demons in life, ranging from alcoholism to a devastating loss of confidence when his leisure boat was sunk by a freighter, but he struck lucky post-mortem.

Robert Fisk: Even the little dog was not spared by Cromwell

To Saint Canice's, then, in the ancient city of Kilkenny, its ninth-century round tower still watching for Viking invaders, home of the forgotten Gaelic Irish-Old English Confederation, its citizens spared by Cromwell.

Album: Sinikka Langeland, Maria's Song (ECM)

An odd and intermittently beautiful combination of finger-in-the-ear Norwegian folk songs about the Virgin Mary (sung by Langeland), with performances of Bach played by Lars Anders Tomter on a viola of 1590 and Kare Nordstoga on the baroque organ of Nidaros cathedral in Trondheim, where the recording was made.

St Martins plans £1bn sell-off

The property arm of the State of Kuwait has kick-started plans to sell nearly £1bn of property across Europe, including five large regional shopping centres in the UK.

Neil Collings: Visionary Dean of St Edmundsbury Cathedral

Neil Collings was the Dean of St Edmundsbury Cathedral from 2006 until 2009. Although his time there was short, he built on the solid work of his predecessor, James Atwell, and made an impact not only in the Cathedral but also in the Diocese of Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich and the county of Suffolk. He was no stranger to the Diocese: his mother had Suffolk roots and his great-grandfather had been a local shepherd.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'