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Not content with being Time's Person of the Year and scoring a Rolling Stone cover, Pope Francis has now achieved superhero status, at least in the eyes of graffiti artist Maupal.

Helen Zille (right), leader of the Democratic Alliance, is hugged by Mamphela Ramphele at the Cape Town conference

South Africa elections: Opposition parties unite to challenge ruling ANC

South Africa’s main opposition party has merged with a smaller group to jointly challenge the ruling ANC in elections in April.

Treasures of the Olympic Winter Games

Book of the week: Treasures of the Olympic Winter Games

Britain may be minnows when it comes to winter sports, but we did invent modern sledding, and we’ve had our moments in figure skating too. Indeed, as this book reminds us, figure skating first appeared on the Olympic schedule in London in 1908.

Tycoon attacked over $150m sale of Congo oil rights that cost $500,000

Dan Gertler, one of the world's most controversial mining tycoons, was back in the spotlight last night over his dealings in the impoverished Democratic Republic of Congo, after it emerged that he is set to sell oil exploration rights that he bought from the government for $500,000 for a staggering $150m.

Xu Zhiyong is charged with ‘gathering a crowd to disturb order’, and could face five years in prison

Xu Zhiyong trial: Chinese activist and lawyer make ‘silent protest’ in court

Mr Xu is charged with 'gathering a crowd to disturb public order', punishable by up to five years in prison

China’s new President Xi Jinping

China's elite linked to 'offshore tax havens'

Relative of President Xi Jinping accused of being a director of an offshore company based in the British Virgin Islands

Thai anti-government protesters march as part of their ongoing rallies in downtown Bangkok

Thailand declares state of emergency in bid to quell Bangkok protests

Bangkok and its surrounding provinces will be subject to the decree for 60 days

Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addresses his supporters during a protest in New Delhi

I am an anarchist, says Delhi's chief minister Arvind Kejriwal as he causes traffic chaos with protest in city centre

At around 3pm on Monday afternoon the Delhi traffic police issued an unlikely-sounding message by means of social media.

Andrew Mitchell eventually received a begrudging apology following the 'Plebgate' affair

Damning report on Police Federation: Personal attacks on Andrew Mitchell and Theresa May condemned in review set up after 'plebgate' affair

'We heard of a growing disillusion with the lack of professionalism of some representatives' says report

Protesters at an anti-fascist rally in Moscow yesterday. While Mr Putin says protests are allowed, LGBT activists report being detained and beaten at gay pride events

Vladimir Putin’s gay rights charm offensive ahead of Sochi Winter Olympics is all lies, activists say

The Russian leader is at pains to reassure the West that gay athletes and visitors are welcome at the Sochi Winter Olympics. But Oliver Wright and Alec Luhne in Moscow say the message from the LGBT community is far different

A Thai anti-government protester points a baton towards a building from where protesters suspected a bomb was thrown on an anti-government protest march in Bangkok on 17 January.

Thailand anti-government protests: 31 people injured in Bangkok blast

The explosion in the Thai capital city left the protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban unharmed 

Rahul Gandhi to lead campaign for India's ruling Congress party

Members of India's ruling Congress party erupted in rapturous applause today for Rahul Gandhi, heir to the country's Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty, who is leading the struggling party's campaign in a general election in May.

Dr Jose Manuel Mireles (third left), one of the leaders of the Michoacan vigilante group pictured with him. He has since been injured in an aircrash that could have been an attempt on his life

Mexico’s last line of defence: The militia taking on the country's drug cartels... and the police officers protecting them

A vigilante militia is marching on the stronghold of The Knights Templar cartel in Michoacan, and attacking the police they accuse of protecting the gang. Can they rescue the failing state?

Mother Paula Andrew stopped by police because her baby wasn’t wearing a coat

Ms Andrew said she refused to give her name and address to officers after they received an anonymous 999 call saying nine-month-old Maddy looked cold

A Thai anti-government protester during the fourth day of the 'Bangkok Shutdown' rally

Thai protesters march on more government offices

Eight have been killed and 450 injured since protests began in November

Bernie Ecclestone, president and CEO of Formula One Management

German prosecutors set to charge Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone over alleged $44m bribe

In 2012, a court sentenced German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky to eight-and-a-half years in prison for taking the alleged payment for organising the sale of a large stake in the sport

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore