Rory Best, centre, is elated by the news that he will be touring Down Under with the Lions

Rory Best almost driven to distraction by 'dream' Lions call-up

Ulster hooker received joyful news in his car while Gatland expresses sympathy for Hartley

Car bomb kills 12 in southwest Pakistan

A car bomb targeting a police vehicle killed 11 policemen and one civilian Thursday in an area of southwest Pakistan wracked by a separatist insurgency and Islamic militancy, police said.

High targets set by the ECB

A four-year plan aimed at unprecedented success for English cricket was unveiled today. In no particular order of priority the players have been charged with winning the Ashes in 2015 and 2017, the World Cup in 2015, the World Test Championship in 2017 and the Women's World Cup in 2017.

Suicide bomber kills 14 at Afghan province council

A suicide bomber struck outside a provincial council headquarters in northern Afghanistan on Monday, killing the council chief and at least 13 others, authorities said.

Nawaz Sharif has won Pakistan's election, but a patchwork of power is emerging at the regional level

No political party enjoys anything close to consistent support across the four provinces

Chinese police seize millions of fake Durex condoms worth £5m

Unsterilised sheaths were being lubricated by workers using oil

People across The Philippines are voting in mid-term elections. The mayoral election in San Teodoro was decided by a coin toss

Tied mayoral election in the Philippines settled by the toss of a coin

Marvic Feraren and Boyet Py needed two rounds of flicking to end the impasse

Indonesian miners rescued after tunnel fall

Rescue workers at a US-owned mine in eastern Indonesia freed four out of 37 miners who were believed trapped underground when a tunnel collapsed.

Omar Waraich: Nawaz Sharif’s election victory inspires new hope for Pakistan

It was one of history’s astonishing turns. In 1999, Nawaz Sharif was overthrown in a military coup. He was thrown behind bars, along with his brother and other ministers.

Forty miners killed in China coal mine explosions

Forty miners have died in two separate coal mine explosions in south-western China, authorities said.

House prices in England and Wales went up £707 in April

Highest riser in prices over the year is Rutland with an increase of 13%

Scottish Premier League clubs agree on play-off proposal

Scottish Premier League clubs today agreed to push for a new merged 42-club body with top-flight play-offs in time for next season.

Pennsylvania mother who reappeared 11 years after being declared dead was answering an outstanding arrest warrant

Brenda Heist, from Lititz, Pennsylvania, went missing in 2002 after dropping her children off at school

Graeme Swann took four wickets and made a brave half-century

Graeme Swann escapes ban despite 'serious dissent'

England bowler penalised for actions in comeback game for Nottinghamshire against Durham

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links