News

The three-metre animal, believed to be a female tiger shark, was caught on bait lines and shot in the head four times at close range

Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: When your plane's stuck on the Tarmac

Q. During the weekend's snow, my wife and daughter were sitting on a plane at Belfast for over three hours heading to Scotland. Did they have any rights to food or water?

David Lofthouse

Cotswold Outdoor's new range includes the roomy Gelert Sleeping Pod (£45), and the BioLite wood-burning camping stove (£150), which can charge USB-friendly devices (cotswoldoutdoor.com).

Former tennis star Jennifer Capriati charged after allegedly punching her ex-boyfriend Ivan Brannan

Former tennis star Jennifer Capriati has been charged after police said she punched her ex-boyfriend on Valentine's Day while he was working out at a gym.

Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Don't cancel your Cyprus holiday

Q. I have booked a family holiday for a two-week trip to Cyprus this August. We've only paid a small deposit so far. Given the economic crisis do you think it prudent to cancel now rather than risk thousands on a holiday which is now at risk?

Peter Gross

Hidden cameras capture drunken revellers repeatedly 'beating up' seals, forcing San Diego to close its beaches at night

Footage showed people repeatedly kicking, punching and sitting on top of adult seals and their pups

Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: The allure of the Istrian peninsula in the far north-west

Q. I am working in Croatia in early May. Then I have two weeks off. I'd like to stay in the region - but I feel I have already seen everything in Croatia. So I am thinking: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Belgrade in Serbia, going into Romania and flying out of Bucharest. Any must-sees in this area, and also best mode of transport?

Brad Allemand

Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: EU Passengers' Rights

Q. Thank you for your advice on EU flight cancellation compensation. I have made a successful claim from Flybe. I have been offered the required €250 payment in cash, but I have been offered €300 as a credit for future travel from Flybe. Which is best?

David Brennan, Ayrshire

Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Not so clever? Is this hotels site too good to be true?

Q. I've been checking prices for hotels in the USA on a comparison website and there are some really good deals with Clever-hotels.com. But are they too good to be true?

Joanne Hill

Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Poor compensation for 24-hour delay

Q. Our Delta flight from Bloomington, USA to Manchester was cancelled after waiting at the airport for seven hours, due to "technical reasons". We were rebooked and flew the next day, in effect 24 hours later. The only compensation KLM - which handles Delta customer services in UK - has offered is a £300 voucher (£100 per passenger) valid for 12 months.

It appears that as the flight was from a non EU airport, the carrier was a non EU carrier, and it was technical reasons for cancellation and not overbooking, the airline is under no obligation to compensate me. Is this correct? It seems scandalous that non EU airlines have this "get out of jail free" card, tough luck to the passenger. Do I have any other avenues to pursue this further?

"JK"

Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Is it safe to holiday in Marrakech?

Q. Is it safe to holiday in Marrakech at the moment? We were thinking of going early in April.

Al Bye, Southend

Get me out of here - Champagne, Vietnam, Holland

Now... On 23 March, there's a spring break in Champagne for £495pp. The two-night trip to this celebrated grape-growing region, with wine specialist Arblaster & Clarke, includes ferry crossing, accommodation in Reims, transfers, tastings and cellar visits. winetours.co.uk

Stressed? You bet I was. Shark wrestler Paul Marshallsea, hailed as a hero, is sacked because he was on sick leave

62-year-old apparently risked his life grabbing a six foot shark's tail as it approached the children

Interiors insider: Sophie Gaze of Andara

Sophie Gaze read Structured Textile Design at Leeds University before working for a leading furniture and home accessories store.

Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Is Thomas Cook in good health?

Q. I am due to pay the balance of just over £3,000 for a holiday in Crete with Thomas Cook. It will be paid with a debit card. What you think of the security of this travel company?

Bill Rogers

Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Help me plan a first-time visit to Japan

Q. I am planning a first trip to Japan, and wondered where to stay in Tokyo - and which other places to visit?

Name Withheld

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Independent Travel
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Seven Cities of Italy
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Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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