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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Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
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A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
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Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

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