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The two sisters sat in the airport lounge, waiting for their flight to Kerala. It was delayed. They were keen to get going. Their mother had died the day before and they were going to settle her affairs. “She had a good life. She lived to 97,” explained one of the sisters. “You know what her secret was? Coconuts.”

Schoolboy stuck in Adu Dhabi for 18 months due to fear of flying finally arrives back home - thanks to hypnotherapy

British 12-year-old finally flies home after phobia traps him in UAE

Album: Tal International, Kaani (Fat Cat Records)

It takes a couple of songs to acclimatise to the deceptively chaotic sound of this West African outfit from Niger. This has neither the reassuring lope of the desert blues nor the bright, shiny swing of Ghanaian highlife. Instead, swiftly circling guitar riffs compete with intense clattering percussion as Tal International give the impression they are tripping over each other to get to some imagined finishing pole first.

The great Gary Stevens is set to appear in the Shergar Cup at Ascot

Stevens to strike in Shergar Cup

While some purists remain reliably condescending, the Shergar Cup has earned a legitimate niche in the racing summer.

Flower power: Prince Charles, supports alternative therapies

He's at it again: Prince Charles accused of lobbying Health Secretary over homeopathy

Prince Charles has apparently been lobbying Jeremy Hunt about the controversial alternative treatment, much to the annoyance of Labour MPs

Pedang, a male Sumatran tiger, who is 14-years old and suffering from chronic ear infections, is given acupuncture treatment at the Ramat Gan Safari, an open-air zoo near Tel Aviv

Pedang gets the holistic approach - but would you give a Sumatran tiger acupuncture?

Pedang, a male Sumatran tiger, who is 14-years old and  suffering from chronic ear infections, was given acupuncture treatment at the Ramat Gan Safari, an open-air zoo near Tel Aviv.

Former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini yesterday left the London hotel where his team stayed for the FA Cup final

Manuel Pellegrini appointment: Manchester City set to cut new man’s powers after Roberto Mancini lessons

Two-week wait puts Manuel Pellegrini in strong position but his role will be strictly defined

HRT patches 'could be used to help treat prostate cancer in men'

Oestrogen offers effective alternative to current, aggressive drugs with fewer harmful side effects
January Jones: The actress who played Betty Draper in Mad Men declared that she was not 'witchcrafty' or anything but she admitted to eating her own placenta after the birth of her baby son and recommended it for all new mums

From eating placenta to rubbing coffee on your skin: how celebrities went to war against science

They feed us a constant diet of fads and fancies, from detoxifying drinks to colon cleansers. But there were signs in 2012 that some celebrities at least are beginning to realise that many of the more bizarre health crazes of the rich and famous are nothing more than junk science.

Specialists treating Neon accepted that there were side-effects to radiotherapy but said that without the treatment the youngster could die within a few months

Cancer boy Neon Roberts should have radiotherapy for brain tumour against mother's wishes, rules judge

Sally Roberts feared the treatment would cause long-term harm but doctors said her son may not survive more than a few months without it

Mankind must go green or die, says Prince Charles

Environmental damage left unchecked would be ‘suicide on a grand scale’, Prince warns

The winning contribution could be aired at the beginning of next season's finale in May 2013

Judd Apatow script for the Simpsons to air after 22 years

The  longest-running American sitcom and the director who has moulded 21st century film comedy in his own image are to team up, as it's been reported that the Simpsons will be turning a script written by Judd Apatow, director of Knocked Up, into an episode next year.

Matthew Norman on Monday: If Andy got his Serb right he'd knock them all out

At the society event of the season, what a joy to meet Andy Murray. This lover of the sweet science was ringside at Upton Park on Saturday night for David Haye's fifth-round destruction of Derek Chisora. "Hi, I'm Andy," said the modest Wimbledon finalist at the proffering of a Diary hand.

Suspected rhino poacher shot dead in South Africa

A suspected rhino poacher was shot dead in South Africa's flagship Kruger National Park today and two others were arrested after they killed a mother and her calf, police said.

John Rentoul: Lansley's Bill is safe, but he is not

The NHS shake-up is past the point of no return, and will proceed. Its author's future is less assured

Market Report: Shire under the weather as rival hits recovery trail

There was a rather pale look to Shire last night as the drugs maker weakened after one of its major rivals took a big step towards recovery. For a number of years now, Shire has been benefiting from serious supply issues suffered by Genzyne, but yesterday the biotech firm appeared to turn a corner.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine