Derek Pain: Watch out, 2014 may finally be the year for my portfolio

There seems to be an overwhelming belief that the stock market is set for another good year. I hope the optimists are right and must admit that I am on their side. But, perhaps it would be foolish to completely overlook that such a chorus of positivity is no guarantee of fulfilment.

Best intentions: British tourists who sign up to work with children in Cambodia might not be helping

Something To Declare: Why it’s vital that volunteering is done in the right way

Top of the list for many well-meaning travellers who wish to volunteer during their time away is to help children in orphanages in developing countries. What better feel-good and mutually beneficial form of travel could there be?

Hiroshi Yamauchi: Computing pioneer who turned Nintendo into a global gaming giant

He bought the Seattle Mariners without seeing them play and knowing nothing about baseball

Hotel hero: Concierges need a bulging contacts book and the ability to make outlandish demands happen

Something To Declare: For top travel tips, nothing beats a charming concierge

Often underused, occasionally outrageously overused – a concierge can be the secret to a special escape.

In the international arena, Wilfred Rhodes loved nothing more than taking on the Australians. The slow left armer, who made his debut in WG Grace's last Test, took an astounding 7 wickets for 17 off 11 overs at Lords in 1902, as the Australians were skittled for 36.

Ashes 2013: From Jim Laker to Shane Warne - the greatest ever bowling performances

We select XI of the finest displays from the spinners, fast bowlers and all those in between

An American flag blows in the wind at sunrise atop the rubble of a destroyed home

Oklahoma tornado: The storm was a monster - even for Tornado Alley

Residents of Moore are used to severe weather patterns – but the strength of Monday’s twister left them shocked and awed

Was Justin Bieber's ‘worst birthday’ really so terrible?

It can be tricky to remember that Justin Bieber is a real human being.

Mother hires strippers for 16-year-old son's birthday, faces jail

Fans of MTV's My Super Sweet 16 are used to tales of outrageous parties being thrown for American teens, but a New York mother has taken the outrage up a gear (and to the attention of the NYPD) by hiring strippers for her 16-year-old son's birthday.

180mph M6 gang leader getaway driver Ben Westwood jailed

Five men responsible for a six-month crime spree which culminated in a high-speed police chase were jailed today as a judge branded their getaway driver's 180mph attempt to evade capture as “atrocious”.

David and Jackie Siegel at their home in Florida

A broken American dream recorded in full colour (lawsuit attached, of course)

David Siegel was living the American dream. A self-made billionaire, married to a former model 31 years his junior, he travelled in private jets and lunched on caviar. Evenings found him at Florida's society events, quaffing champagne with celebrities, sports stars, beauty queens.

Gethin Jenkinsis one of those with Grand Slam experience

Wales to call on Grand Slam winners' experience ahead of France showdown

Wales will tap into the experience of their previous Grand Slam winners this week as they prepare for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations showdown against France.

Locked-in syndrome sufferer Tony Nicklinson

I'm inviting the court to cross the Rubicon, says right-to-die judge

Britain's murder laws could be radically reinterpreted if a severely disabled man succeeds in his legal battle to allow a doctor to kill him without the risk of prosecution.

'Am I glad that the doctor saved my life? No I'm not'

High Court victory for man with 'locked-in syndrome' fighting for the right to die

David Flatman: French flair is just a fluke – give me the scrummaging

From the Front Row: Many Top 14 games are horrid to watch - unless you are a prop forward

Porter backed as 'inspirational' despite anthem row

The chances are that Tiffany Porter will be on the rostrum for the 60m hurdles medal ceremony in the Atakoy Athletics Arena today. Unless Australia's Sally Pearson false-starts or crashes into a barrier, however, the British team captain is unlikely to be singing the national anthem.

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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 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own