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Michael Gove is a no-nonsense sort of chap, unafraid to shake his fist at the Human Rights Act. In 2011, the Education Secretary vowed to crack down on unruly pupils, whatever Europe said about their rights, and last year he led the cabinet's huffing and puffing when it looked as if Abu Qatada couldn't be deported. So how surprising to learn he is the trustee of a charity dedicated to promoting, er, human rights! The Charity Commission lists Gove as one of only two trustees of something called the European Freedom Fund. The other is the neocon writer and activist Douglas Murray. Their objective is "the promotion of respect for human rights as set out in the European Convention of Human Rights and fundamental freedoms adopted by the members of the council of Europe on 4th November 1950 and the convention's five protocols". This could put Gove in a tricky position when the Tories come to replacing the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights. Still, the EFF hasn't been too busy: no money has gone in or out since it was founded in 2007. Molto strano!

A bit of a pickle: Mark Hix's preservation orders

It used to be the only way to preserve fruit and vegetables, but pickling is still a rewarding option, says Mark Hix.

I'm a practical moderniser, says Cameron

The needs of society must come first, Tory leader tells Woodstock Literary Festival

<a href="http://blogs.independent.co.uk/independent/2008/09/draft-2.html" target="_blank">Shopping Bag: Designer weekend</a>

The London Design Festival is in full swing, and if you have any time this weekend - and it's geographically possible - there is an enormous amount to see and do

Education Diary: Bichard takes over as director of Institute of Government

Sir Michael Bichard, who has had a long and illustrious career in the public sector as permanent secretary of first the Employment Department and then the Department for Education and Employment as was, has retired from the top job at the University of the Arts London. But he isn't striding off to spend the rest of his life on the golf course. Oh, no. Next month he takes over as director of a new outfit called the Institute of Government. Funded by the Sainsbury family, it will work with senior civil servants and all three major political parties to help politicians be even more effective than they are now. There will be research, workshops, seminars, you name it, to help budding prime ministers and chancellors prepare for power. As a mandarin who worked with Conservative and Labour ministers, including big beasts like David Blunkett, Sir Michael is well placed to give future leaders a piece of his razor-sharp mind. Lucky David Cameron.

Artie Traum: Greenwich Village folk star

He shared a manager with Bob Dylan, toured with the Band, composed the film score for a Brian de Palma movie and played on 35 albums, but Artie Traum is probably most warmly celebrated as a supreme acoustic guitar stylist. One of the first Americans to adopt and perfect the DADGAD style of tuning, he influenced generations of young musicians with his workshops and tutorial DVDs and was so intuitively gifted he could switch easily between bluegrass, folk, blues and country, while also being lauded as an improvisational jazz musician.

Neil Young: Iraq'n'roll

In 2006, Neil Young reunited with Crosby, Stills and Nash to protest against the Iraq war. Now he's made a film about the tour. Kaleem Aftab hears why

Waterside Paris

Summer on the Seine is about to begin, as 2,000 tons of sand bring the beach to the French capital. And with lively canals and watering holes, now is the time to dip into the city, says Alessia Horwich

<a target="NEW" href="http://independent.net-genie.co.uk/Outdoor_Activity/55303/the_50_best_festivals.html">The 50 Best Festivals</a>

Whether you like rock or pop, dance or poetry, outdoors or in, there's an event for you this summer

Simon Calder: The man who tries not to pay anything

Social networking? Not working, at least for me. Last week, as the pound continued its freefall against the euro, I went online to couchsurfing.com to try to find a sofa to sleep on in Paris. The idea behind this and similar sites is that you tell prospective hosts about yourself and your travels, so that they can judge whether you look like a safe and rewarding bet as a house guest.

Martin Scorsese: The Rolling Stones provided the soundtrack to my decade of sex and drugs

There's a telling moment in the opening exchanges of Shine a Light, the new concert film of The Rolling Stones. Sitting on a plane, sipping champagne in first- class, and peering over his reading glasses, Mick Jagger is deliberating over the set-list for a gig at New York's Beacon Theatre in 2006. You can't help but think of Robert Frank's notorious film of the Stones' 1972 American tour, Cocksucker Blues, which depicted the group's orgies, drug-taking and vandalism.

Today's Cheltenham racing abandoned

This afternoon's meeting at the Cheltenham Festival has been abandoned because of high winds.

Black & White (12A)

A fundamentalist insurgent (Anurag Sinha) insinuates himself into New Delhi's Chandni Chowk market with the purpose of detonating a bomb near the Red Fort on an August festival day.

Buddy Miles: Flamboyant Hendrix drummer

Best known as the drummer with Band of Gypsys, the short-lived group put together by Jimi Hendrix at the end of 1969, Buddy Miles contributed two compositions – "We Gotta Live Together" and "Them Changes" – to the eponymous live album they released in 1970.

Slowdown in festive borrowing

Anxious consumers worried about their levels of borrowing decided against paying for Christmas on credit, according to a report looking into December spending.

Paperbacks: The English Year by Steve Roud

Penguin &pound;9.99
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Independent Travel
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
South Africa
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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'