News

Kleintje Pils say the performance will be a 'signal'

The Fateful Year: England 1914, By Mark Bostridge: Book review - a landscape filled with strikes, spy fever and Suffragettes

A book that assesses the state of the nation as it stood on the brink of the Great War

A general view of the track as a Skeleton rider goes down the slope at the Sanki Sliding Center

Winter Olympics 2014: Six workers fall from roof at bobsleigh venue, confirm Sochi Games organisers

They were working at the Sanki Sliding Center when the snow went out from under them

Volgograd suicide bombings: Death toll 'rises to 33'

Number killed in rail station attack rises to 18 and bus bombing death toll is now 15, according to news agency

Marina Litvinenko and (inset) her husband in hospital

Widow of poisoned spy Alexander Litvinenko says Government is trying to force her to give up attempts to uncover why Russian spy husband was murdered

Marina Litvinenko will boycott inquest unless urgent public inquiry is ordered to replace it

Postcard from... Sozopol

Bulgarian protester dies after self-immolation

A protester who set himself on fire last month has died, the second fatality following rallies against high power bills and corruption that have toppled a government.

Gerard Depardieu's tax exile has turned him into a pawn for Putin

The French actor's move has been condemned by Russian opposition

Corn prices soar as heat hits crops

A heatwave across southern Europe has seriously damaged corn crops in a region that accounts for nearly a fifth of the world's production, triggering warnings that British shoppers could face soaring bills and the economy may be hit by inflationary pressures.

Israel blames Iranian campaign of terror as bus bomb kills tourists

Attack leaves seven dead in Bulgaria - and is latest in series targeting Israelis abroad, says Netanyahu

The Week in Books: Welcome back, Ovid - for English poets, you always were the champion

Plus - in search of the internet and the true colour of fiction

78 dead in southern Russia floods

Torrential rains dropped nearly a foot of water on a Black Sea region in southern Russia overnight, setting off intense flooding that killed at least 78 people and forced some in the largely rural area to take refuge in trees and on roofs, officials said today.

Voyager into uncharted waters: Sjón

The Whispering Muse, By Sjón, trans. Victoria Cribb

Iceland's maverick storyteller returns with a cruise into legend.

'Vampire' graves are unearthed in Bulgaria

Archaeologists have unearthed skeletons pinned down through their chests with iron rods – a practice to stop the dead from turning into vampires.

Take the plunge: Sochi is among the Black Sea stops

Cruises: For added adventure,try a Black Sea package

If you love the variety of waking up in a new country each day, and wish to venture beyond the Mediterranean, try the Black Sea. You could tick Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia and Georgia off your "must visit" list. The last three are "difficult" destinations, so a cruise is the ideal way to get a taste.

Sun, sea and palm trees at Nauru in the South Pacific

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.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there