News Flooded fields around the River Tone seen from Windmill Hill, Somerset

… and the Met Office warns there is still more rain to come

A protestor is hit by water sprayed from a water cannon during clashes in Taksim Square

The water cannon has no place on London's streets

To bring them in would be deeply damaging to the principle of policing by consent

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

Japan reports record annual trade deficit as energy prices soar

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

Anti-government protesters gather around a fire to get warm at a road block in Kiev on Sunday night

Ukraine protests: Police forced to abandon Kiev conference centre to opposition as protests spread further across the country

Protesters claim the newly-occupied Ukrainian House complex had a police sniper post with 'spent cartridges' on the roof

Simon Read: What made the minister change his mind about the retired Britons with frozen pensions?

Regular readers will recall my articles about overseas pensioners and the anger felt by around half a million of them who have had their state pensions frozen.

David Prosser: German lessons for British firms

Britain’s failure to build sufficient numbers of mid-sized businesses capable of matching Germany’s famous Mittelstand companies has been a long-held frustration for policymakers of all persuasions – it’s encouraging, therefore, to see them doing something about it.

Lib Dem Justice minister Simon Hughes
South Sudanese government soldiers wait to board trucks and pickups; a cessation of hostilities agreement in Addis Ababa that should at the least put a pause to five weeks of warfare has been reached

South Sudan: Government and rebels sign truce after five weeks of violence and 1,000 deaths

Government and rebel leaders in South Sudan have signed a ceasefire – the first step towards peace in the country after five weeks of violence in which more than 1,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands forced from their homes.

BAE Systems defends Eurofighter Typhoon in wake of failed UAE deal

BAE Systems boss Ian King today defended the Eurofighter Typhoon after talks with the United Arab Emirates over a £6 billion order collapsed last month.

The boomerang generation: A lack of affordable housing is putting huge strain on young lives

For the first time in years, housing is a top five issue for voters

Moya Greene in red at the London Stock Exchange in October 2013; Moya Greene's £1.5m earnings were modest compared to those of other FTSE 100 bosses

Why the residents of Benefits Street and Moya Greene, the Royal Mail chief executive worth upwards of £1.5m, are not so different after all

It's not just the poor who are subject to occasional feelings of entitlement

Arifa Akbar: Some fictional characters are gay. Get over it

I was waiting for the Australian author, Christos Tsiolkas to begin his first UK event this week and, as the audience filed in from the drizzle, I noticed a particular absence in the room. That of women. It was just me until – phew – three others slunk in. Tsiolkas's reading at a Bloomsbury basement bar had been organised by the bookshop Gay's the Word, so the clue was in the title, but I was thrown at first, to be among an audience with shared affinities that reared themselves – fascinatingly – during the discussion.

Rahul Gandhi to lead campaign for India's ruling Congress party

Members of India's ruling Congress party erupted in rapturous applause today for Rahul Gandhi, heir to the country's Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty, who is leading the struggling party's campaign in a general election in May.

Reporters raise their hands during French President Francois Hollande's annual news conference

French President François Hollande rebuffs media on alleged affair with Julie Gayet: 'These are painful moments, but private matters should be dealt with privately'

This being France, the President escaped close inspection of his private life at a long-awaited press conference. Instead, he talked about his plan to slash state spending. John Lichfield reports from the Elysee Palace

James Moore: Let's not get too excited about the seasonal spending splurge

Outlook Raise a glass to Greene King. The pub and restaurant group reported a sparkling 5 per cent increase in sales over Christmas. But fill it with Cava rather than Champagne.

Tories plan ‘shock treatment’ to win over the low-paid

Strong criticism echoes campaign by Miliband for an end to the political consensus on the economy since the Thatcher era

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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 17 April 2015
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...