Black Sea

Why are a South Pacific island and a former Soviet state so cosy?

At first glance, Nauru and Abkhazia make an unlikely pairing on the world stage, with little in common other than their obscurity, and desperate need for new friends. Nauru, the world's smallest republic, is a destitute South Pacific island microstate of just 8.5 square miles, with about 10,000 inhabitants and a critical shortage of funds following the collapse of its only industry of note, mining phosphate deposits created by bird droppings.

Cold down the river Danube

Hundreds of miles of Europe's busiest waterway are frozen solid – and from Bavaria to Bulgaria, the continent's economy is seizing up too. Tony Paterson reports from Berlin

Thirty degrees below – and at least a hundred dead: Europe's big

With record snowfalls, icy winds, and thousands of people trapped in remote villages, much of Central and Eastern Europe is in the grip of a cold snap that has caused more than 100 deaths. Temperatures in parts of Ukraine and other Eastern European countries are hovering around -30C (-22F).

Naval deal brings chaos to Ukraine parliament

Eggs and smoke bombs were hurled across the chamber of the Ukrainian parliament yesterday as opposition deputies sought to stop the extension of a lease on a Russian naval base in the Crimea.

Russia seizes US vehicles

Russian soldiers today held blindfolded Georgian servicemen at gunpoint and commandeered US Humvees in a dramatic sequence of events in Poti, a key Black Sea port.

Istanbul: Inside strait

Magnificent palaces, mosques and markets are Istanbul's most obvious attractions. But while revisiting the city, Linda Cookson instead faced seawards – and found a world of surprises on the waterway that divides East and West

How one ancestor helped turn our brown eyes blue

Everyone with blue eyes alive today – from Angelina Jolie to Wayne Rooney – can trace their ancestry back to one person who probably lived about 10,000 years ago in the Black Sea region, a study has found.