News

The stellar explosion is the closest to be spotted since 1987 and will provide a 'galactic yardstick' for astronomers judging distances across the universe

Imps' improvement is fired by cigars

A surge in sales of Cuban cigars in China and other emerging markets has helped Imperial Tobacco report a 3 per cent rise in sales for the past nine months.

Under new management: Fidel Castro's brother, Raul, has introduced 313 guidelines to relax the economy - although many ordinary people believe the elite are merely buying time

Cuba: The second revolution?

For the first time since the 1959 coup, Cubans are able to buy and sell property, set up businesses and farm their own land. Could these new liberties signal a move towards a free-market economy? Don't count on it, says Margareta Pagano.

A man sells second-hand books in Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad

Robert Fisk: The Baghdad street of books that refuses to die

Saad Tahr Hussein rushes me through the narrow alleyway towards Mutanabbi Street, where the concrete wall in front of the central bank hems in the pedestrians. About a thousand Iraqis briefly see – or don't notice – the sly shade of a Brit as he stumbles down the alley. Then, in the square where the statue of old Marouf al-Rasafi, poet and history-debunker under British colonial rule, glares at the crowds, we turn left into the street of books.

Harriet Walker, right, enjoys a cigar with Edita Nemethova

Happiness is a hotel cigar evening for new generation of female smokers

Would Harriet Walker be hooked by the latest trend sweeping London's social scene? You're Havana laugh

Djokovic’s altitude training has helped him to reach peak fitness

James Corrigan: Wada's bigwigs need to get off their high horses

The Way I See It: Altitude training is not a health risk – so how then could it possibly be against the spirit of sport?

The Moonlite Bunny Ranch Brothel outside Carson City has a collection box for Paul’s campaign

Pimping for Paul – Nevada brothels back the libertarian contender

In a state built on rugged individualism, Ron Paul is a major Republican player

Imps sees its sales damaged by Syria sanctions

Sanctions against war-torn Syria have hit sales at Imperial Tobacco, maker of JPS and Davidoff cigarettes, the firm said yesterday.

Strip search: David Schneider lives it up in Vegas

The secret to success in Las Vegas? No gambling...

You can fly there in style, stay in the newest hotel on the Strip, see a show, even fire a gun. But the secret to success in Las Vegas? No gambling

Hold The Back Page: 16/07/2011

Khan proves a hit with the ladies

Boxing has never had much of a female fan base, and even its popularity with chaps is diminishing after recent aberrations, but step forward Amir Khan – on a one-man mission to get more ladies to the bouts.

The really big smoke: world's longest cigar

A Cuban aficionado has rolled the world's longest cigar – measuring 268ft 4in.

Who needs Mickey when Winter's on your side?

A new film about an injured dolphin is about to put Florida's Gulf coast in the spotlight. But there are more reasons to come here, says Kate Simon

Malcolm Allison

Lack of space perhaps prevented Ivan Ponting's typically admirable tribute to Malcolm Allison (16 October) mentioning his brief sojourn as manager at then non-League Yeovil Town in 1981, writes KG Banks.

Cement flows for permanent plug of BP's Gulf well

Crews pumped cement into BP's blown-out oil well thousands of feet below the sea bottom today, working to finally seal the runaway well.

Alejandro Robaina: Tobacco farmer regarded as the godfather of the Cuban cigar industry

Alejandro Robaina, the "godfather" of the Cuban tobacco industry, was widely regarded as one of the finest cigar producers in the world. He started smoking at the age of 10, and eventually five cigars bore his family name – a unique distinction.

Godfather of the Cuban cigar dies, aged 91

Cuba was in mourning yesterday for the godfather of its most celebrated national product – a thing so good that the United States has felt compelled to ban it from its shops for half a century – the Cuban cigar.

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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
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
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there