New Articles A Stradivarius violin at the restoration and research laboratory of the Musee de la Musique in Paris

The rare violin is known as the Lipinski and was on loan to the lead violinist Frank Almond

American reporter Anthony Shadid dies in Syria

New York Times correspondent Anthony Shadid, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, has died in eastern Syria after slipping into the country to report on the uprising against its president.

Mason says: 'I'm very good at ballet dancing, which, let's face it, I was born to do'

My Secret Life: Jackie Mason, 75, comedian

My parents were... fantastic. My father was a rabbi, my mother was a typical Jewish mother who fussed over her children and thought they could do no wrong.

Pepsi admits drink is bad for your body – if you're a mouse

Too much fizzy drink will rot your teeth, but if you are a small rodent, and if the drink happens to be called Mountain Dew, then it's actually capable of dissolving your entire body.

Poultry cull in Hong Kong after two dead birds tested positive for the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu

Bird-flu victim 'had no direct contact with poultry'

Alarm in China after bus driver dies, and, in nearby Hong Kong, 19,000 chickens have been slaughtered

Rod Blagojevich, centre, fights his way through the media scrum as he leaves the federal court in Chicago

Blowout in the Windy City

The jailing of Rod Blagojevich marks a new low point in Chicago's murky political history

Rod Blagojevich, centre, fights his way through the media scrum as he leaves the federal court in Chicago

Just another Chicago tale of graft and extortion

Maybe that devout Catholic, Richard M Daley, had a point, apropos of the corruption for which his home town and state are legendary. "Look at our Lord's disciples," Chicago's former mayor, who attended Mass daily, once declared. "One denied Him, one doubted Him and one betrayed Him. If our Lord couldn't have perfection, how are you going to have it in city government?"

Careful with that axe: Kate Nash with her Taylor

Revealed: the real guitar heroes

For his latest book, photographer Pat Graham snapped musicians with their favourite instrument and got them to explain why they loved them. Here is a selection

My Faraway One: Selected Letters, Volume One, By Georgia O'Keeffe & Alfred Stieglitz

"Living is such a tangle – I've only started on this – but – I'll stop." So wrote farm-born artist Georgia O'Keeffe in 1916, a few months after she had begun a correspondence with well-heeled, married photographer Alfred Stieglitz. It would continue across thousands of pages during a tumultuous and stimulating relationship which only ended with his death, 30 years later.

Blow for Obama as bid to oust Wisconsin Republicans fails

A daring effort by Democrats to oust a group of conservative Republicans in Wisconsin's state senate narrowly failed yesterday, a setback that seems to confirm the resurgence of the right nationwide and spell trouble for Barack Obama whose re-election strategy will rest in part on solid support from the Midwest.

Judge orders release of Nixon Watergate testimony

Thirty-six years after Richard Nixon testified to the Watergate grand jury, a federal judge yesterday ordered the first public release of the transcript about the break-in that drove him from the presidency.

American academic wins bad prose award

It may not be Shakespeare but that was never the idea. A sentence which compares forgotten memories to the bloodied corpses of sparrows has won a prize for intentionally bad literature. The 2011 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, for which writers are invited to compose the worst opening sentence to an imaginary novel, was won by Sue Fondrie, a University of Wisconsin Professor. She wrote: "Cheryl's mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell on to a growing pile of forgotten memories." The award's wesbite said that, at 26 words, the submission was the shortest winner in Contest history.

Terrible prose wins literary prize

A sentence in which tiny birds and the English language are both slaughtered has taken top honours in an annual bad writing contest.

The bare-faced truth about big fat liars

Men with wide faces are more likely to lie and cheat than narrow-faced men but they seem to make better businessmen, according to a study that links facial features with a tendency to engage in unethical behaviour.

Traveller's Guide: The Great Lakes

Staggering in their size and beauty, North America's freshwater wonders offer the chance to experience nature and adventure.
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Lena Dunham
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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam