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 15 May 2015
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine