alan macwhannell

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The 10 best independent bookshops in the world – readers recommend

Contribute with Guardian Witness<p>Wherever you are in the world, visiting a bookshop is always a treat – but with their numbers dwindling, independent stores that offer something unique are increasingly becoming a destination in themselves. Last year we rounded up some of the world’s most weird and …

Books

Classics for the people – why we should all learn from the ancient Greeks

The dazzling thought-world of the Greeks gave us our ideas of democracy and happiness. Yet learning classics tends to be restricted to the privileged few. It’s time for ‘elitist dinosaurs’ to embrace a citizens’ classics for all<p>Just how special were the ancient Greeks? Was there really a Greek …

Ancient History

Death in Venice review – powerfully direct

Garsington Opera at Wormsley Steuart Bedford, who also conducted the premiere of Britten’s opera in 1973, gets the best from his orchestra, while dancers reveal its dynamism and energy<p>Britten’s last opera, Death in Venice, is also his oddest. Its most remarkable achievement is presenting Aschenbach …

The Arts

Can you pass Michael Gove’s grammar test?

As the Justice Secretary instructs his civil servants on proper grammar, would you meet Gove’s high standards?<p>Michael Gove didn’t become the Justice Secretary by ignoring small details, and it turns out the former education secretary is a stickler for grammar. The Lord Chancellor has <b>posted a</b> …

Michael Gove

French pupils petition to scrap 'impossible' English exam question

Petition to remove two questions from English exam in this year's French baccalaureate goes viral as 10,000 pupils complain it was "incomprehensible"<p>More than 10,000 pupils in France have signed a petition calling on examiners to ditch a question from the English exam in this year’s baccalaureate …

In pictures: medieval stained glass

Some of Britain's oldest stained glass windows, dating to the 12th and 13th centuries, are now on show at Canterbury Cathedral<p><i>Three examples of</i> …

Is 15 June 1215 the true date of Magna Carta?

On 15 June 2015, the queen will visit Runnymede to celebrate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. But are we commemorating the sealing of the …

6 Magna Carta myths explained

Dr Ariel Hessayon explores six common myths associated with Magna Carta, and reveals how our shared perception of it owes more to events in the 17th …

Waterloo animation: How the battle was won and lost in maps and figures

On June 18 1815, British and Napoleonic forces would clash for the final time in a muddy field in Belgium.<p>The Battle of Waterloo is seen as one of the most significant military campaigns in European history and put an end to a struggle for power on the continent that had raged for more than a …

Bad manners, pomp and circumstance and a game of thrones: Inside the court of Napoleon Bonaparte

Philip Mansel gives his view on the life of the French emperor who famously lost on the battlefield...<p>Napoleon I was a monarch obsessed with rank, …

Mahler CO/Benjamin review – artfully interconnected themes

Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh Soloist Pierre-Laurent Aimard was dazzling in Ravel, while two vocal works at the concert’s core were luminous, poised and eloquent<p>The thematic threads that run through the 2015 Aldeburgh festival are artfully interconnected. This year’s artist-in-residence is George …

Piano

What you need to know about backyard chickens

TORONTO – As the price of groceries continues to climb, interest in urban farming in big cities like Toronto and Vancouver is on the rise. Besides …

Hunt for Viking DNA among Normandy residents riles anti-racism activists

British scientists searching for evidence of Norse colonisation in the communities of the Cotentin peninsula warn of ‘sensitivities’ over the issue<p>British researchers on Monday began collecting the DNA of residents from Normandy in northern France in search of Viking heritage, but the project has …

Racism

Andris Nelsons’ Farewell Concert, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Hall, review: 'the music possesses him'

The brilliant Latvian conductor seems like a giant on the podium, says Ivan Hewett<p>Andris Nelsons, the brilliant Latvian conductor who’s led the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra these past seven years, is departing for Boston. It seemed appropriate that, to say their farewells, he and the …

The Arts
Donald Trump

The artists you probably haven’t heard of

Ah summer. For those immersed in art that means group shows, blockbuster one person museum exhibitions and the sleepy aftermath of Art Basel and the Venice Biennale. Summer is also the time to discover fresh names, young spaces and a general sense of enthusiastic newness. Here are ten artists you …

Lonely Planet's best places in Europe 2015

Europe is a magical miscellany of peoples and places, and the range of destinations can be overwhelming if you’re planning a trip. To narrow down the choices, we asked our team of Europe-based editors and authors to pick a list of 10 destinations looming large in their travel plans right now.<p>This …

European Travel

Seagull attack cancels concert: Classical pianist drops out after spraining his finger falling over when bird swooped on him

• <b>Paul Lewis, 43, had been due to play works by Mozart and Schumann</b>• <b><br>But he was swooped on by the bird while leaving rehearsals and fell</b>• <b><br>Badly sprained</b> …

Five day 'fasting' diet slows down ageing and may add years to life

The Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD) improves longevity while cutting the risk of cancer and diabetes by half, scientists have found<p>A five day diet which mimics fasting could slow down ageing, add years to life, boost the immune system and cut the risk of heart disease and cancer, scientists …

Israelis watch intently as Syrian rebels approach Golan Heights border

Fate of Druze minority a source of growing concern on both sides of ceasefire line as Islamist fighters close in on Bashar al-Assad’s southern strongholds<p>The top of Mount Hermon bristles with the golfball antennae, surveillance masts and bunkers that make up Israel’s northernmost intelligence base. …

Middle East

BBC denies Jeremy Clarkson's claim that he was asked to return as Top Gear host

The former presenter claims he was approached by a senior executive last week but turned down the offer, saying 'it would never work'<p>The BBC has refuted Jeremy Clarkson's claim that he was asked to return as the host of Top Gear months after he was axed.<p>Clarkson said he turned the offer down …

Top Gear

Vegetarian Fish Could Be the Biggest New Development in Sustainable Seafood

In attempts to curb overfishing, researchers have found that fish such as trout, yellowtail, walleye, and Atlantic salmon can survive, and even thrive, on vegetarian and fish-free diets.<p>As the world's population grows, so does its demand for fish—the silvery, lean, delicious protein swimming …

Aquaculture

Pluto at Last

Small, cold, and absurdly far away, Pluto has always been selfish with its secrets. Since its discovery in 1930, the dwarf planet has revolved beyond reach, its frosty surface a blurred mystery that even the most powerful telescopes can’t bring into focus. We know about Pluto. But we don’t really …