French economist and academic Thomas Piketty, poses in his book-lined office at the French School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences  in Paris. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

Thomas Piketty, the French economist who wrote a best-selling book on inequality, has defended his work against criticism by the Financial Times of sh(...)

The St Patrick’s  Day parade may be a blast but there are alternative ways to enjoy the day. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Today is the day we traditionally celebrate our Irishness by spending hours standing in the freezing cold and driving rain (alright, maybe not(...)

Niall McCormick and Colmán Munnelly, founders of Irish educational technology start-up Colmac Robotics

You are hungry and tired and in need of dinner. You relay this message via iPad to Herb. He goes to the freezer, takes out a ready meal, microwaves it(...)

French president Francois Hollande (2ndR) walks with freed  hostages Marc Feret (L), Pierre Legrand (C), Daniel Larribe (3rd R) and Thierry Dol (R) on the tarmac upon their arrival at Villacoublay military airport, near Paris, today. Photograph: Jacky Naegelen/Reuters.

Four Frenchmen held hostage in the Sahara desert by al-Qaeda-linked gunmen for three years flew home and were reunited with their families today, with(...)

Niger’s president, Mahamadou Issoufou (right), greets released French hostages in Niamey yesterday.  Photograph:  Reuters

Four French hostages kidnapped by al-Qaeda’s north African arm three years ago in Niger have been released, French president François Hollande said ye(...)

More than 3,200 names, mainly of building workers, were kept on the list. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Major construction companies in the UK are to compensate workers whose names were on a secret industry blacklist.The dramatic development follows year(...)

Workers sets up a giant 66th Cannes Film Festival official poster at the front of the Palais des Festivals, showing Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward kissing on the set of  A New Kind of Love  in 1963. The Cannes Film Festival starts today. Photograph: Lionel Cironneau/AP

Cast a quick glance about Cannes tonight and you could be forgiven for deducing that Hollywood bosses the world’s greatest film festival. For t(...)

Detail of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel shows the “Creation of Adam”, a panel in the massive narrarative work by Michelangelo. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Is there more truth in art than religion? That was one of the topics for discussion on a recent edition of The Big(...)