News Demonstrators protest against the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad outside the UN offices in Geneva during the talks on Friday

At first the talks were delayed for 24 hours, then Syria’s foreign minister threatened to walk out. But last night the two sides agreed to be in the same room. Kim Sengupta reports from Geneva on the UN mission to end the bloodshed

Get me out of here - Swiss ski, Bermuda sun, nine days in India

Now... Swiss ski in the new year

Swishing down the Swiss slopes doesn't have to cost the earth. On 4 January, Inghams has a week in Grindlewald, at the foot of the Eiger, for £399pp. Half board at Hotel Jungfrau Lodge is included, with transfers and Monarch flights from Gatwick to Geneva. inghams.co.uk

Football Association chairman Greg Dyke is in favour of a switch

Winter World Cup for Qatar 2022 'inevitable'

European leagues set to agree to switch

A poultry market in Hong Kong

Ten years after Sars, now we have Mers

A deadly virus alarms scientists, as a new flu strain appears in China

Anthony Hilton: Switzerland is not the haven it is thought to be

Last Sunday at a speaking engagement down in Bath I sat next to a Swiss guy who wrote trading algorithms and software for Geneva based hedge funds. It was that sort of dinner – a place where the mathematically gifted fund managers exchange ideas and theories with academics on how to predict market movements.

Kofi Annan warns of risk of civil war in Syria

International envoy Kofi Annan says world powers share a “profound concern” that Syria's violence is spiraling into civil war but have pledged to deploy 300 truce monitors there by the end of the month.

Skoda shows sporty Fabia vRS at Geneva

Skoda has introduced a new high-performance version of the Fabia. The vRS has a 1.4 litre petrol engine fitted with both an engine-driven supercharger and an exhaust-driven turbocharger, a combination that is good for some 180 horsepower. That's enough to propel the vRS, in either hatchback or estate form, to 100km/h (62mph) in just 7.3 seconds. VW's second-generation seven-speed DSG gearbox is fitted, and there are a variety of cosmetic tweaks that distinguish the vRS from other Fabias.

International Baccalaureate: A path of learning for the broad-minded

The baccalaureate isn't just for gifted or foreign pupils. Average students are signing up, too

Murray's rise broadens Bates options

Davis Cup: Swiss clay can be a great leveller but the Federer factor remains

Brother Roger Schutz

Founder of the Taizé community

Letter: Clinton vs Starr

Sir: I cannot be the only person on the planet who agrees with Bill Clinton that most of his activities don't constitute sexual relations. In common with all the people I met and went out with in the late Fifties and early Sixties, I believed there was something immoral (certainly for a woman) in having sex with a near-stranger, but heavy petting was perfectly permissible and a man would certainly not think you were loose if that was all you were prepared to do!

Relatives of victims are flown to Canada

A SPECIAL flight took relatives of the 229 dead last night to the scene of the disaster, where they were preparing to carry out the grim task of identifying the remains.

Ducemobile

THE Fiat Berlinetta that drove Benito Mussolini and his mistress, Clara Petacci, their deaths in 1945 goes on auction in Geneva today after nearly half a century standing in a Swiss garage.
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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
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
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