News The cruise liner Lyubov Orlova, shown here among ice in Antarctica, has been drifting without a crew in the north Atlantic for the past year

UPDATE: Experts say the cruise liner, adrift in the north Atlantic, may have succumbed to stormy weather conditions

Obituary: Jose Pena Gmez

JOSE Pena Gmez was the charismatic leader of the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD). A brilliant orator, he was cheated of the presidency of the Dominican Republic in 1994 by the long-serving ruler Joaquin Balaguer, who used the fact that Pena Gmez was black and probably born of a Haitian mother to appeal to his countrymen's racism.

Obituary: Falco

Johann Holzel (Falco), singer-songwriter: born Vienna 19 February 1957; married (one daughter; marriage dissolved); died Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic 6 February 1998.

LAW REPORT: 27 JANUARY 1998; Shipper is strictly liable for dangerous cargo

A shipper of dangerous cargo was strictly liable to the carrier for damage caused by the cargo, regardless of the absence of fault or neglect on its part, and the danger need not be direct.

Aids research for pregnant `unethical'

The United States is funding research aimed at helping Third World countries combat the spread of Aids from pregnant women to their children. But critics say the methods are knowingly endangering the lives of unborn infants. David Usborne looks at the two sides of the argument.

Family lives in hope for flood victim

The parents of a young British woman who was swept away by a flash flood while hiking in the United States, said last night they were still hopeful that she would be found alive.

Should you go on an all-inclusive?

THE public's demand for all-inclusive holidays is continuing to rocket. The prospect of going on holiday without any cash is irresistible: an endless buffet lunch of whatever takes your fancy for a fortnight. Much has been made of the lure of "free" alcohol, but a huge array of sports and activities is also a serious attraction.

Mexico was out there. Somewhere

Sophie Campbell went to a country called `all-inclusive'. After five days, she was ready to make a break for freedom

Go west, young holiday-maker

Even communist Cuba is not being left out of the tour operators' quest for ever more exotic locations. Jeremy Atiyah on what's big this year

Letter: Cash crops cause water crisis

Sir: In your important front-page lead "World is running out of water" (25 January), you end by suggesting that global water shortages result from the need to feed a fast-growing world population. Yet it won't have escaped readers' notice that the crop you previously referred to is not a food at all, but Egyptian cotton.

Release of 23 raises hopes of end to Peru siege

GUERRILLAS freed 23 more hostages from the besieged Japanese ambassador's residence in Lima yesterday, leaving 80 VIP captives in the hands of the Marxist Tupac Amaru guerrillas.

Letter: Why blood donor rules vary

Sir: Mr Jarrett (letter, 24 December) raises an important point concerning guidelines over who can and cannot donate blood. In the past these rules have tended to relate to medical history, but increasingly the National Blood Service (NBS) has had to take into account changes in lifestyle.

Letter : Conflicting rules for blood donors

Sir: Every year we have appeals from the National Blood Transfusion Service for donors to give at Christmas, as supplies drop to very low levels. Yesterday, my wife and I attended a donor session for the South Thames Centre.

Manning the barrios

Geoff Dyer says yo to a new writer from the Dominican Republic

Letter: Country cast list

Sir: Further to the letters you have published on people with countries named after them, there are the Emperor Chin (China), Philip II (Philippines), Ibn Saud (Saudi Arabia) and St Dominic (the Dominican Republic and Dominica). If empires were included, Othman and Romulus could be added to the list.

Uncle's odds-on favourite

CONFESSIONS OF AN IVY LEAGUE BOOKIE by Peter Alson, Fourth Estate pounds 7.99
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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