News Latvia Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis

Valdis Dombrovski's resignation was accepted by the Latvian president today

Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Ideas please for a trans-world meet-up

Q. We want some destination ideas for three girlfriends to meet this year. Two of us are London-based and the third lives in Auckland. We're keen to find somewhere which offers a fairly even flight time (and investment) to get to, whilst still being budget conscious. Our previous holidays together have been European city breaks, but the beach also appeals. We're considering July, or October-December as options.

Catherine Webber, Surbiton

Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: A heart patient chasing a flight extension

Q. Last July I booked a holiday to South Africa through Expedia, flying on KLM, in April. I then discovered I will need a heart operation at that time. I asked Expedia to contact KLM and ask for a one-year extension. KLM would only give a year's extension from date of purchase of tickets, ie until July 2013. Is there any way we could persuade KLM otherwise? I have sent a fax to KLM with a doctor's letter but had no reply. As we are pensioners, nearly £1,500 on flight tickets is a lot to lose.

Gordon Hamman, Kendal, Cumbria

Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: It looks as if Spanish economy has hit another link from the UK

Q. It has been widely reported in the Spanish media that Ryanair will stop flying to Valladolid from 5 March. If you try to book a flight on the website you cannot book from this date. We have booked tickets for April but we have not received any communication from Ryanair. There is nothing on their news page.

Michael Lynch

Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: A holiday with a nine-year-old daughter

Q. My partner and I are middle aged and reasonably active with a nine-year-old daughter. But we haven't had a holiday since her birth.

Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Where to eat when you're in Monte Carlo

Q. Can you recommend where to eat in Monte Carlo without it costing a fortune, on a budget? We are staying at the Novotel Monte Carlo.

David Jackson

The cruise ship from hell: Passengers told to stay in cabins as norovirus breaks out

When forking out for a once-in-a-lifetime trip, passengers boarding P&O's Oriana's probably didn't expect to be stuck in their rooms vomiting.

Norovirus the food poisoning bug that causes violent stomach flu

Up to 750,000 people could be hit by norovirus bug as UK faces biggest outbreak yet

More than 750,000 people could be affected by an outbreak of norovirus in the UK, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has claimed.

Hope fades for North Sea cargo ship sailors

Seven sailors missing in the icy North Sea after a cargo ship collided with another vessel and sank off the Dutch coast are almost certainly dead, rescuers said today.

Hearts agree settlement to pay back taxes

The dispute related to players loaned to Hearts from Lithuanian club Kaunas.

Richie McCaw has led the All Blacks to 16 Test wins in a row

Merciless McCaw wants wounded Wallaby scalps

Richie McCaw, just about the finest player in the 17-year history of professional rugby union and a World Cup-winning captain to boot, has never been one to get ahead of himself – hence his understandable decision to concentrate body and soul on today's Bledisloe Cup game with Australia rather than cast his mind forward to the task of chasing down those titans from… wait for it… Lithuania.

A Journey to Nowhere By Jean-Paul Kauffmann (trans. Euan Cameron)

A quest for one of Europe's vanished states brings close encounters with past and present

Rebuilding Europe: Refugees returning to Berlin after the Second World War

Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War Two, By Keith Lowe

In his memoir If This is a Man, the Italian writer Primo Levi recalls that the most terrifying time for him at Auschwitz was not the years of incarceration by the Nazis, when beatings, hunger, back-breaking work and the threat of murder were omnipresent. He came closest to despair during the vacuum between the flight of the guards and the arrival of the Red Army. This period, in which the prisoners were effectively left to their own devices, was characterised by a complete breakdown of all authority, however unjust, as well as the system of supply. I was reminded of these passages when reading Keith Lowe's Savage Continent: an excellent account of the two years or so between the end of hostilities in Europe with the defeat of Hitler, and the establishment of the Cold War order.

Simon Calder: Tourists will choose the path that avoids red tape tangles

Britain expects Russians and Indians to jump a series of hurdles before they can stay in the West End or shop at Bicester Village

Hatched roof: One of Andrea Zittel’s Wagon Stations

A design for living from the Mojave Desert

Andrea Zittel's bizarre exhibition is not as surreal as her life, finds Hannah Duguid

Wave of panic cash withdrawals sweeps Latvia after false rumours of Swedbank bankruptcy hit social networks

Latvia was yesterday struggling to control a mass wave of panic cash withdrawals from the country’s biggest bank, Swedbank, following a rash of false social media network rumours which claimed that the Swedish-owned lending group was going bankrupt.

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Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
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New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

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Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
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By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

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Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
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Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
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Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
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New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

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Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

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The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes