Environment The Nathusius’ pipistrelle weighs just 7.6g and is the size of a human thumb

A tiny bat the size of a human thumb has become the first to be recorded crossing the North Sea from Britain to mainland Europe – before meeting an untimely end in the Netherlands.

Review of the year: World Music

Kinshasa on the beat

Adriano hat-trick lifts Inter

Zimbabwe: 'It's a little scary voting MDC - I'm not sure about the future'

In Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city and the stronghold of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main opposition party, the queues had formed by 7am.

Vote for opposition and you won't get food, villages told

Among the withered crops and dried-up riverbeds in southern Zimbabwe, people are in a sullen mood. The general elections are just four days away, but few people expect their votes to make a difference. President Robert Mugabe has already set up all the systems in place to make sure his ruling party, Zanu-PF, wins a majority of seats in parliament. The government has control of the electoral roll and polling stations, and people in rural areas have been warned that villages that vote for the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), will be denied food.

UN to tackle claims of Congo sex abuse

The United Nations is to investigate claims of sexual abuse by its peacekeepers after conceding that recent cases involving its soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo may not be isolated to that country and similar abuses have probably happened elsewhere.

Rupert Cornwell: Can Europe and America ever agree on the meaning of democracy and freedom?

It's perfectly obvious that Mr Bush failed to enlist those week-kneed Europeans in the great crusade for freedom

John Gray: Not every country in the world can be a democracy

From a speech by the LSE Professor of European Thought, given at the Royal Society of Arts, London

Qureia says he wants 'less radical' cabinet

The embattled Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia sought to defuse a political crisis yesterday by planning a radically altered list of mainly 'technocratic' Cabinet ministers to replace a previous one angrily rejected by parliamentarians.

Whose taste is it anyway?

Today we all think we're experts on minimalist chic. But, asks Nick Foulkes, what's wrong with old fashioned clutter?

Belgium confronts its heart of darkness

King Leopold was hailed as a hero for 'civilising' the Congo. Now a remarkable exhibition in Brussels tells the forgotten history of a brutal exploitation that killed millions and shamed a nation

Miners flee into Congo forests to escape plague epidemic

Plague has killed at least 61 people at a diamond mine in north-east Democratic Republic of Congo, and hundreds who fled into the forests to escape the contagion may be infected and dying, the World Health Organisation said yesterday.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'