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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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 1 May 2015
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk