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While politicians agonise over the size of the Government’s debt, one of the most expensive publicly funded projects in recent years is quietly getting under way.

Princess Lilian of Sweden

Hejdå to Sweden's Welsh-born Princess Lilian, who has died aged 97

Sweden’s Princess Lilian captured the heart of a prince – and then an entire nation

Renters paid a total of £7.7 billion more in 2012 than in 2008

The number of private renters in England rose to 3.8 million in 2012, an increase of 23% since 2008, says new report

It's too hard to spend a penny these days. Let's follow Canada and scrap them

All the penny serves for is an unwanted reminder of our financial mess

Win a tailor-made trip to Graubünden, Switzerland’s No. 1 holiday destination

Discover Swiss alpine holidays - your way

Kim Jong-un is honoured to meet Dennis Rodman

The Last Word: Just a slam-dunk away from the goal of World Peace as Kim Jong-un becomes friends with Dennis Rodman

Some day we’ll see Terry at the Home Office, Beckham in the Elysée Palace

The Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona

What makes a cult building?

Every city in the world is commissioning architects to design iconic architecture – a production line of ever flashier-looking objects of grim bread-and-circuses banality. Why does it takes a tramp-like Catalonian vegetarian, and a young Italian with Mussolini on his mind to remind us that architecture – really engrossing architecture – is worthy of cult worship.

Philippe Charlier, a forensic medical examiner, addresses reporters during a news conference held near Versailles

'Brutal' Richard's I's 'lion' heart was soaked in holy balm to ease his passage into heaven

Autopsy of 12th-century monarchy reveals heart embalmed in purifying frankincense

Amsterdam plans sober party for Dutch inauguration

The Dutch capital is known for boozy stag nights and pot-smoking tourists. But for what could be the nation's party of the decade — the abdication of Queen Beatrix and accession to the throne of her son Willem-Alexander — Amsterdam wants to keep things low key.

January 31, 2013: A man holds a placard depicting Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and reading

Spain's crisis could not have come at a worse moment - for her and for Europe

If our Prime Minister thinks he's having a hard time, he should put himself in the position of his Spanish counterpart. That country's misery affects us all

6% of people want to be buried in their shed

New report reveals surprising shed statistics as 2013 Shed of the Year competition is officially launched

Katherine Manley as Creusa;

Medea, Coliseum, London

David McVicar’s production of Charpentier’s Médée – or Medea, in Christopher Cowell‘s felicitously idiomatic translation – is the most brilliant show to have graced the Coliseum in years. It’s by turns bold and brash – how could it not be, given the tabloid luridness of its subject matter? – and it’s also irresistibly seductive, as befits one of French Baroque music’s most ravishing scores which, after three centuries, is getting its first professional British staging.

Modern classic: New York’s NoMad hotel is the latest to mix traditional style with contemporary touches

Juliet Kinsman: Ancient and modern make the perfect bedfellows

Something to Declare

Snowdrop season: Can you tell your 'Primrose Warburg' from your 'Spindlestone Surprise'?

The craze for snowdrops continues, with more and more gardens opening in February to show off their collections. I like snowdrops en masse and some of the best are in old gardens where the flowers have been left to their own devices to spread, often in areas some little way from the house. That's how it is at Chippenham Park in Cambridgeshire, which I visited for the first time this month.

Doctor Who goes 3D for its 50th anniversary

Technology has finally caught up with Doctor Who, which is to be screened in 3D for its 50th anniversary later this year.

Pentillie Castle restoration: Archaeologist finds 'body of man who built it' during excavation

Human remains discovered at a stately home are believed to be those of the man that built it - ordering that he be buried in his best clothes with his pipe as he waited for the afterlife.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen