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

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

Nadhim Zahawi (right) is an adviser to the Prime Minister

Coalition policy causing 'physical harm' to countryside, claims Tory MP

Nadhim Zahawi says 'massive, irreversible damage' is being caused

Crackdown: Chinese police inspect illegal cooking oil in 2010

Man in China sentenced to death for selling illegal cooking oil

Man's brothers also sentenced to life in prison

MPs accuse Government over scrapping of international aid programmes

The Government has been accused by MPs of bowing to “short-term political pressures” by deciding to scrap aid programmes to South Africa and India.

Australia celebrate their Ashes victory with the public in front of the Sydney Opera House

Ashes 2013-14: Victorious Australians celebrate series whitewash with parade in front of adoring public and Prime Minister

Parade took place in Sydney where Australia claimed the 5-0 series win last week

Chancellor George Osborne has repeatedly insisted that the task of clearing the deficit is not completed

George Osborne insists Britain must make £25bn more welfare cuts in 2014

The Chancellor has branded 2014 the 'year of hard truths'

David Cameron has insisted the plans to charge migrants are enforceable

David Cameron defends plans to charge migrants to use NHS accident and emergency services

Prime Minster will press ahead with more stringent rules for foreign visitors

Book review: 'Stormbelt' by Robert Leslie (With essays by Edward Burtynsky and Cameron Sinclair)

In his essay alongside the photographs here, Edward Burtynsky says: “The images in this book ask that we follow the quiet journey of Robert Leslie and his camera through a land where the notion of the unstoppable economy, a land of plenty, the ‘American dream’, is brought into question.” 

Acts of Union and Disunion, By Linda Colley: Book review - a lively analysis that disentangles the false unities from the real disunities

I first met Professor Linda Colley in 10 Downing St, during those heady days after Blair's first election victory. Cherie Blair had invited the historian to deliver a pre-buffet lecture on Britishness. Exhilarating and erudite, the talk turned into a subtle critique of Cool Britannia, the daft "rebranded" national identity marketed by New Labour.

South Sudanese soldiers in Malakal, 497km from Juba

'Back from the brink': South Sudan's warring rivals to begin peace talks

Negotiators meet in Ethiopia as UN calls for end to fighting during which more than 1,000 people have been killed

Want an earnest answer to 'voluntourism'? The International Citizen Service may be for you

Is it possible to travel the world and actually do some good?

Mitchell Johnson has been transformed from figure of derision to a 31-wicket menace

Ashes 2013-14: England captain Alastair Cook should remember Michael Clarke holding back tears after last summer’s drubbing at Lord’s

Aussie Angle: Mitchell Johnson’s job, in the words of Jeff Thomson, is to  ‘run in and let it go whang’

The unrest and violence comes after years of rivalry between Bangkok's middle class and royalist establishment and the mostly poor, rural supporters of prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra

Anti-government protester shot dead in Bangkok ahead of Thai elections

An anti-government protester has been killed and two injured in a gun attack in the Thai capital Bangkok.

Callers including victims of crime and the bereaved spent £56million on expensive calls to government departments last year

Official: Government to stop using premium rate 0845 lines to access key public services

Callers including crime victims and the bereaved spent £56m on calls to departments in 2012

Official: Government to stop using premium rate 0845 lines to access key public services

Callers including crime victims and the bereaved spent £56m on calls to departments

A volunteer puts together a parcel of food at a Food Bank in Brixton, south London

Anti-EU Tory ideology trumps the needs of the poor after Government rejects EU fund for food banks

Do the Government have any intention of providing for the 13 mlllion who live below the poverty line in Britain?

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Independent Travel
Vietnam & Cambodia
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Bruges
India & Nepal
Japan
Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London