Travel

Springtime, just before the new century began. As Laos is now the new Cambodia, Vietnam was then the new Thailand, and my girlfriend and I had arrived – with our backpacks – to see what all the fuss was about. The capital Hanoi had dazzled, and we were due to take the train 420 miles down the coast to Hué. We were late, though. We were always late.

Li Keqiang, set to become China's premier

Li Keqiang urges deeper urbanization to support China's growth

Li Keqiang, set to become China's premier in March, said the nation must deepen its rural-urban population shift to support growth while avoiding the economic stagnation associated with middle-income countries.

Last night's viewing - Four Born Every Second, BBC1; Stephen Fry: Gadget Man, Channel 4

Four Born Every Second, Brian Hill's contribution to Why Poverty?, a series of documentaries on the subject, began with a question: "Is it worse to be born poor or die poor?" It rather depends on what happens in between, I found myself thinking, before realising that the question wasn't really intended to be answered. And unfortunately the vagueness of that moment turned out to be typical of a film that was full of good intentions but distinctly thin on the ground when it came to logical coherence.

Tradition or trap? Berlin’s Christmas market

Open Jaw: Where readers write back

Michael Palin’s Brazil

Crowded house: the temples of Angkor can get busy

Open Jaw: Where readers write back

Christmas in Cambodia

Barack Obama to make groundbreaking visit to Burma

President Barack Obama will make a groundbreaking visit later this month to Burma, an official said today, following through with his policy of rapprochement to encourage democracy in the Southeast Asian nation.

Welcome to my eight wonders of the world

I took my family to one of the Seven Wonders of the World yesterday. We drove to Chichen Itza (or chicken pizza as the locals call it), the ancient Mayan ruins that lie in the centre of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and became a "new" Wonder in 2007. We got there early to avoid the hordes of coach parties that descend upon the place after 10am. It's certainly impressive, but I couldn't help thinking that I'd been to even more amazing places that hadn't made the New Wonders list, established by a company in Switzerland which claims to have got over 100 million votes before announcing the seven winners.

Royal audience: mourners gather in Phnom Penh

Trail of the unexpected: Cambodia - for king and country

Lara Dunston watches as thousands mourn the death of their monarch in Phnom Penh

Ruthless and charming, Cambodia mourns its ‘King-Father’

Cambodia mourns its ruthless and charming 'King Father'

The body of Cambodia's former king, Norodom Sihanouk, will be displayed for up to three months before a large state funeral is held for the mercurial and widely loved monarch who died after suffering a heart attack.

How We Met: Stevie Parle and Emma Grazette

'Both of us had been bitten to death. Then the monsoon started…'

BLADE RUNNER: More than 80 layers of carbon fibre make up the blades now used by almost all amputee runners at the Paralympics. Oscar Pistorius (pictured), the Blade Runner himself, is their most famous wearer, having powered to four Paralympic golds in Beijing and Athens. The South African wears Flex-Foot Cheetah prosthetics invented by US amputee Van Phillips and now produced by the Icelandic firm, Ossur. The blade-style leg was the first to store energy like a spring, re-using it at the crucial moment the leg pushes off from the ground. Pistorius’s leg can return 90 per cent of the energy it stores, far short of the 250 per cent return achieved by a real leg. Pistorius had to prove the blade offered no special advantage before he was allowed to run at the Olympics

The race is on in the hi-tech Paralympics

Engineers more used to working with fighter jets and Formula 1 cars are giving disabled athletes a winning edge.

Our team is a model for other generations,’ say Dominique
(left) and Jean

Tutsis and Hutus unite to bury memory of Rwanda’s civil war

Dominique and Jean bear the scars of a brutal conflict. Then they were enemies. Now they find themselves in the same volleyball team – and a friendship has blossomed

Marathon speech by Cambodian PM

Asia's longest-serving ruler has set what appears to be a personal record for his longest public speech: five hours, 20 minutes.

Deadly virus forces closure of schools across South East Asia

Health officials in several countries across South East Asia are on alert over a deadly virus that has killed more 50 young children and which the authorities fear could spread further.

Cambodia: Bo Xilai witness flies to China

A Frenchman held in Cambodia because of alleged links to the Bo Xilai scandal has flown to China, where he is wanted as a witness.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
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Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
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Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

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Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

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The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

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Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

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Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

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War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

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