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 15 May 2015
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue