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From new non-stop flights and 'Place Pins' to photo workshops and air bridges

Court casts a beady eye on Europe's tax havens: A French Alpine region gets duty-free cars, and Vatican workers two bottles of spirit three times a week. Andrew Marshall examines customs curios left by centuries of European border battles

THE good times may be over for those strange islands in Europe, Andorra, San Marino and Monaco. Gibraltar is under siege. The duty-free arrangements of the Vatican are being scrutinised. The beady eye of the European Community has been attracted by the customs systems of these tiny enclaves, and its Court of Auditors has put them under the microscope.

Sports Listings: Plan Ahead - Tour de France

THIS year's Tour de France, the world's greatest cycling race, will be one of the toughest with mountain stages in the Alps and the Pyrenees and three time trials. Starting in Le Puy du Fou on 3 July, the 80th Tour keeps to France, with the exception of a vist to Andorra, and ends on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on 25 July.

Departures: Early snow option

BOOKINGS for ski holidays last winter were badly hit by the sharp fall in the value of the pound against the currencies of the main ski destinations. To offset the higher prices and to promote early bookings for next winter, Thomson Holidays is offering discounts worth up to pounds 50 on its Ski Thomson programme.

Andorrans reject feudalism

ANDORRA LA VELLA (Reuter) - The tiny Pyrenean principality of Andorra, still largely run on feudal lines, yesterday voted overwhelmingly in favour of a new democratic constitution. The final result of a referendum on the constitution showed 74.2 per cent had voted 'yes', with 25.8 per cent opposed; 75.7 per cent of the 9,123 native Andorrans eligible to vote among a population of 60,000 cast their ballot. For 715 years Andorra has been a co- principality whose joint sovereigns are the French head of state and the bishop of the nearby Spanish town of Seo de Urgel. Under the new constitution it can make its own foreign policy and join international organisations.

Travel: The Alps it isn't, but . . .: Andorra has its special attractions. Chris Gill talks to two families about the cheap and cheerful pleasures of skiing in the Pyrenees

ANDORRA has a reputation for relatively limited skiing and cheap and cheerful, duty-free, British-dominated apres-ski. It does not force itself to the attention of the super-sophisticated skier; and because it's in the Pyrenees - mountains devoid of resorts of the first rank and inconveniently remote from the Alps - it's not often near the top of the list for world-weary resort hoppers.

Democracy at last

ANDORRA LA VELLA (Reuter) - Andorra's parliament approved a draft constitution which will bring democracy after seven centuries of feudal rule. The 28-member General Council of the Valleys voted unanimously for the draft, which will put sovereignty into the hands of Andorra's people for the first time since the tiny principality was founded in 1278.

Travle: At last, teachers without attitude: You're in the Alps and you want a lesson, but not in broken English. Chris Gill offers help

ONE of the many appealing aspects of skiing in North America and one of the few appealing aspects of skiing in northern Britain is the ready availability of tuition from instructors whose first language is English. When you first encounter this, the contrast with the usual alpine form of tuition can be very striking indeed.

Cycling: Tour returns to savour home soil

THE Tour de France is going back to its roots in 1993. The world's most famous cycling race, which went through seven European countries last July, will head back to the roads of France and towards the mountains between 3 and 25 July in 1993.

Sport in Short: Roller Hockey

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (Andorra) Group B: England 6 Mexico 2; England 40 Pakistan 0.

FOOD / Persia on my mind

NAJMIEH BATMANGLIJ tells the story of a princely feast to which a poorly dressed guest showed up. Given his ragged cloak, he saw that he would get the least of everything, so he went home to dress in a more splendid fashion. Thus accoutred, he returned to the feast and, now taken for an eminent person, was promptly served the best of everything. Whereupon he rubbed the food into his turban and silken cloak. His host asked about his curious eating habits, and was told: 'Nothing special. The cloak and turban got me here and got me the food. Surely they deserve their share?'
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