News Demonstrators protest against the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad outside the UN offices in Geneva during the talks on Friday

At first the talks were delayed for 24 hours, then Syria’s foreign minister threatened to walk out. But last night the two sides agreed to be in the same room. Kim Sengupta reports from Geneva on the UN mission to end the bloodshed

Simon Usborne: £50 premium saved me a bill for £10,000

The pain was bad enough – I'd broken my back in a fall while skiing off-piste – but it could have lasted much longer. The helicopter rescue didn't come cheap. Nor did the morphine, the Swiss hospital, the six seats converted as a stretcher on the flight from Geneva, or the fee for the doctor sent to bring me home.

A back door to beauty: Sion offers a surprising approach to some splendid Swiss skiing

The recorded welcome and safety-instruction message on National Express airport coaches ends with the invitation to "sit back and enjoy the ride". It occurred to me as the 7.05am service left Golders Green Tube station for Stansted that nobody wanting an enjoyable ride would head off around the eastern part of the North Circular Road, with its grim monoculture of retail-park architecture. Certainly it became evident on this trip that the only passengers having a good time were those whose eyes were closed and mouths open.

Airlines boosted by business fares

Airline balance sheets have improved this year in part because of a sharp increase in business class fares, the International Air Transport Association said yesterday.

Warning over 'superbug' strains of TB

A TB time bomb could explode on the world without major efforts to curb drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis, experts warned today.

The science of gardening (as explained to renowned physicists)

It has been described as probably the most important garden in Europe but is open to the public on only one day a year. Now, however, the Garden of Cosmic Speculation developed by American-born landscape architect and historian Charles Jencks may be replicated at the Geneva-based centre of CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research.

Hadron Collider II planned for Circle Line

[ Added at noon on 1 April: Before you read, check the date! ]

London Underground is in talks with the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (Cern) about the possibility of using the 23km tunnel of the Circle Line to house a new type of particle accelerator similar to the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva.

Leading article: High maintenance

The search for the "God particle" will have to wait a while longer. The Large Hadron Collider in Geneva is to be switched off for a year at the end of 2011 in order to correct a design problem.

Skoda shows sporty Fabia vRS at Geneva

Skoda has introduced a new high-performance version of the Fabia. The vRS has a 1.4 litre petrol engine fitted with both an engine-driven supercharger and an exhaust-driven turbocharger, a combination that is good for some 180 horsepower. That's enough to propel the vRS, in either hatchback or estate form, to 100km/h (62mph) in just 7.3 seconds. VW's second-generation seven-speed DSG gearbox is fitted, and there are a variety of cosmetic tweaks that distinguish the vRS from other Fabias.

Cadillac expands CTS range

Cadillac introduced the new coupé version of its mid-range CTS to European customers at the Geneva Motor Show this week. The new car shares its wheelbase with the standard four-door saloon but has a lower roof-line and is slightly shorter overall; most of the bodywork is unique to the model. The coupé's standard engine is the 3.6-litre V6, which is the larger of the two options available on the saloon.

Nissan shows the new Micra at Geneva

Nissan has shown its fourth-generation Micra at the Geneva Motor Show. The new car is somewhat more conservative in design than the outgoing model and has echoes of the second-generation "bubble" Micra that was such a strong seller in the Nineties.

Alfa announces new Giulietta for Geneva

Alfa Romeo has released the first official pictures of the Giulietta, the replacement for the Golf-sized 147, which will be shown to the public for the first time at this week's Geneva Motor Show.

Porsche to unveil its new Cayenne at Geneva

Porsche has released details of its second-generation Cayenne SUV. This moved was expected as Volkswagen has already announced a new version of its Touareg, a sister model of the Cayenne. As in the case of the Touareg, the emphasis is on weight reduction, and improved performance and economy.

Vauxhall Ampera to be shown at Geneva

A prototype Vauxhall/Opel Ampera will be displayed at the Geneva Motor Show next week - that's if its electric drive train and range-extending petrol engine prove reliable, because it's being driven to the show from Opel's European headquarters in Rüsselsheim near Frankfurt, a distance of some 370 miles.

Audi to show off Mini rival at Geneva

Audi will launch its Mini-rivalling A1 at the Geneva Motor Show in early March. Unlike the Mini, Fiat 500 and Volkswagen Beetle, though, Audi's new small car won't be a retro design – mainly, perhaps, because there isn't much of a tradition of distinctive small Audis to draw upon.

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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 17 April 2015
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions