Arts and Entertainment

There is a certain pleasure (however smug) in being ahead of the curve when spotting a particularly gifted writer, and a certain regret when the masses catch up with your discovery. The latter, of course, is the state desired by author and publisher, and Peter May has now made the transition from connoisseurs’ taste to popular bestseller.

Get me out of here - rural Portugal, Mauritius, Egypt

Now... Depart this month for a break in rural Portugal. Sunvil has four nights' B&B at two Pousadas (historic hotels) split between Estremoz and Alcacer do Sal, with TAP flights from Heathrow to Lisbon, car hire and one dinner for £542 per person. Sunvil.co.uk

Fishing is the main industry of the Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands face trade sanctions over fishery quotas

Tiny North Atlantic nation repeatedly defies EU over herring and mackerel quotas

48 rescued as tourist boat runs aground of Welsh coast

Forty eight people have been rescued from a passenger boat after it hit a rock on a Welsh island this afternoon, coastguards said.

Wanted: Polar bear spotter to protect Norwegian scientists - must be loud and good with guns

Adventurers with a keen eye sight and loud vocal chords are being offered the chance to explore the Arctic with scientists, in a three week job contract as polar bear spotter.

Deals of the week - Bruges, Skiathos, Cape Verde

Less than £200... For £199pp, Cresta Holidays is offering a three-night jaunt to Bruges this summer. The package includes accommodation at the Flanders Hotel in the heart of the city with breakfast and return Eurostar from London St Pancras on 19 August. Crestaholidays.co.uk

The island of Korcula

Summer Guide 2013: Islands

Take your pick of seven new properties on the Greek Islands available through Ionian Villas (01935 477196; ionian-villas.co.uk). "Artist's Villa" on Paxos, built in 2011, has three bedrooms and sits on a hilltop surrounded by olive groves overlooking Gaios port. It costs from £1,330 for a week's rental. Meanwhile, two-bedroom "Morpheus", a newly completed property on Antipaxos, is one of only four villas with swimming pools that are available to rent on the island. It costs from £1,120 for a week, including rental of a Suzuki 4x4. International travel costs are not included.

Deep south: Tristan da Cunha

World's most remote parish seeks vicar

Tristan da Cunha, a British territory stranded in the South Atlantic, is having trouble recruiting a new priest

Snooze for a living: Finnish hotel seeks 'professional sleeper'

Snooze for a living: Finnish hotel seeks 'professional sleeper'

Applicants should speak fluent English and Finnish, with Russian considered an additional bonus

A snowmobile is the ideal way to reach Barentsburg in winter

Barentsburg: chilly invite to a land frozen in time

Barentsburg in the Svalbard archipelago is a curious Soviet relic best explored by snowmobile, says Chris Leadbeater

Two years ago the BBC denied misleading viewers over footage shown on the Frozen Planet series of a polar bear tending her newborn cubs

Frozen Planet documentary maker in trouble for 'disturbing' Norway's polar bears

One of the experts behind the critically acclaimed documentary Frozen Planet, is in hot water in Norway over “disturbing” polar bears for another BBC show while filming them in the wild.

Calafate, introduced by a resident to use as a wind-break, is spreading fast on the Falklands and is proving difficult to eradicate

Calafate invasion: Falklands natives under threat from an Argentinian force of nature

Invasive – and tenacious – South American shrub affecting plants and damaging sheep

Andy Flower talks with Alistair Cook

England keen to reassert the status quo in New Zealand

All those so-called expert predictions about Old Albion trampling all over the Kiwi colonials are looking pretty hollow now. So here we go again. England, without being cocky, arrogant or complacent, should defeat New Zealand by some distance in the second Test which begins at the Basin Reserve tomorrow.

Falkland Islander Joan Turner, wearing a dress with the Union Jack colours, casts her vote at the Town Hall polling station in Stanley

Falklands referendum: Why ask British people if they want to be British?

Alejandro Betts, formerly Alexander, is the Falklands’ only  ‘defector’. He tells David Usborne the referendum is pointless

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Maldives government moves to halt public flogging of 15-year-old girl raped by stepfather

Amid widespread outrage, the government of the Maldives has said it is seeking to halt the public flogging of a 15-year-old girl who had been repeatedly raped by her step-father.

Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: What are prices like in Madeira?

Q. I am going to Madeira in May and would like to know the prices for eating out, and also the cost of drinks.

Karen Eaton

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Day In a Page

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
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
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