News Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers his special address at the opening session of the World Economic Forum in Davos

Japan’s trade deficit has hit an all-time high as imports were swollen by higher energy prices and a weak yen.

Bending Adversity, By David Pilling - Review

From the outside, Japan can seem like an enigmatic and mysterious country. Historically closed off to foreign influence until relatively recently, the island nation can seem to Western eyes to be almost incomprehensible in its outlook – culturally, politically and even economically.

2013 - the year in review: Carbon emissions, badger culls and extreme weather made for a terrible year for the environment

The climate change summit was the worst since 1992. All we got was a ‘roadmap’ to an ambitious new deal in 2015

The UK-based charity Practical Action has given British urban landmarks 'make-unders' to highlight the plight of the world's slums

Slum Britain: UK cities given ‘make-unders’ to show what life would be like if Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament were in shanty towns

Government pledges support to Practical Action campaign for sanitation in world’s poorest cities

Camping in 2002; by then the world had only nine more years to go

Rev Harold Camping: Preacher

Evangelist who provoked a media frenzy by predicting that the end of the world was nigh – three times

Why animal charity matters: Helping livestock victims of natural disasters helps people too

Despite possible appearances some animal charities have got their priorities right

Jacob Ostreicher, right, with Sean Penn last year

Sean Penn rescues American businessman Jacob Ostreicher from violent Bolivian jail

The actor released a statement to confirm he was with a New York  businessman who had been spirited out of Bolivia after spending over two years in captivity for crimes he claims he did not commit

View of the 'Grand Prismatic' hot spring in the Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming on 1 June 2011

Yellowstone Supervolcano 2.5 times bigger than previously thought

Researchers claim it could be 2,000 times more powerful than Mount St Helens

Are you snarky or smarmy? Too much sunny side up will fry the brain

A Gawker essay has ignited a culture war on the value of niceness

Aggreko wins Brazil World Cup power contract

Temporary power firm Aggreko — responsible for keeping the lights on and the cameras rolling at the last World Cup in South Africa and at the London 2012 Olympics — has been chosen by FIFA to perform the same duties across 12 different venues in Brazil.

Yellowstone supervolcano a ‘much larger system’ than scientists had thought

Experts say new findings don’t necessarily increase the ‘Yellowstone hazard’ – despite claims it could be due a catastrophic eruption

Scientists solve bizarre mystery of Mima mounds – they are not the work of aliens…

New research suggests geological anomalies are not Native American burial sites but are created by gophers over hundreds of years

Hundreds of seal pups which had been feared dead after a tidal surge hit the east coast of Britain have been found alive and well

Seals found in Norfolk which were feared lost after storm

Hundreds of seal pups which had been feared dead after a tidal surge hit the east coast of Britain have been found alive and well.

UK weather: People urged to remain vigilant as high tides and strong winds continue through the night

Houses been swept into the sea over night as the biggest tidal surge in 60 years hit the east coast. The Environment Agency has urged people to remain vigilant as the high tides continue through the night

Microsoft brands governments a 'persistent threat' alongside malware and cyber attacks

Maker of the world's most popular operating system joins Yahoo and Google in offering encryption as default for customers and their data

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering