News This 1348 painting shows how plague devastated European cities like Florence

Black rats are also implicated in both outbreaks, which took place 800 years apart

Errors & Omissions: You really ought to think carefully before using the word 'real'

Whenever you find yourself writing the word "real", pause for a moment: you should probably cut it out.

Fifty per cent of restaurants use dishcloths that could make you ill

Half of restaurants and takeaways harbour high levels of bacteria which can cause food poisoning, new research shows.

Test offers hope of tuberculosis breakthrough

A blood test that can tell doctors whether someone is likely to develop the active and dangerous form of tuberculosis has become a realistic possibility.

Scientists reveal bacteria have 'noses'

Common bacteria have "noses" that respond to smells, scientists said.

The miracle spray-on glass that stops the bugs

Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool is coating the toys in its wards with a revolutionary form of "liquid glass" that has proven in trials to reduce the number of disease-causing bacteria living on the surface of objects.

Breakthrough in meningitis scourge

Genetic factors behind the deaths of children struck down by meningitis have been identified for the first time. Experts hope the breakthrough will boost development of vaccines that protect against the deadliest strain of meningitis bacteria.

DNA analysis key to beating MRSA

The genes of common bacteria could yield a "treasure trove" of therapeutic drugs to combat the growing problem of drug-resistant bacteria, a leading scientist said yesterday.

In mint condition: Can you cure halitosis in the sweet shop?

If you neglected to brush your teeth this morning, you're not alone. More and more of us are instead relying on an ever-increasing variety of breath-freshening products. But are the sugar-free confections on our shelves really an alternative to old-fashioned oral hygiene and the dreaded visit to the dentist? Nick Duerden investigates

Marlon Lewis: The vast majority of action in the sea is carried out by these microscopic organisms

Aswell as being the food stock for ocean life, it is a vast geochemical factory. Our atmosphere is almost entirely derived from its activity 2.5 billion years ago

Curry spices for cows and sheep could cut methane emissions

Curry spices could hold the key to reducing the enormous greenhouse gas emissions given off by grazing animals such as sheep, cows and goats, scientists have claimed.

Caesarean babies prone to disease

Giving birth by Caesarean section may leave a baby vulnerable to disease and allergy by upsetting its natural balance of bacteria, scientists believe.

Windscreen water could be legionnaires' disease risk

Motorists who do not use screenwash for their windscreen wipers risk getting potentially deadly legionnaires' disease, a study revealed today.

Bacteria may help police identify suspects

Police forces may soon be able to add another forensic tool to their armoury following a study showing that it is possible to identify a person from the bacteria they leave behind after touching an inanimate object such as a computer keyboard or telephone.

Revealed: the 160 species living inside our guts

Scientists have decoded the DNA of the bacteria that take up residence in the typical human body
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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
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future