News

Rescuers have recovered 23 survivors, pulling the last from the wreckage on Sunday but at least 17 workers have died

Travel: Operatic overture

THE travel publisher Rough Guides is hedging its bets ahead of the day when we all decide Abroad is really far too risky and we should stay at home instead.

Speedy cash for the stranded traveller

My 19-year-old daughter is travelling in Goa in southern India, and has had all her money stolen/lost it/run out. I need to get pounds 500 out to her urgently. What is the best way?

West End gallery provides nursery for contemporary Chinese artists

Work by contemporary Chinese artists, some never seen before in Europe, is being shown in a series of solo exhibitions at the new Phinn's Gallery in the West End.

POP MUSIC / On music

It's an ambient techno dub trance jungle out there. You don't know whether to nod, sprawl on cushions or run on the spot for eight hours with your shirt off, do you? At a club called Return to the Source - Part Two, tonight at the Rocket in Holloway Road, officially you can do all these things, but the nature of the music is such that running on the spot is probably the most suitable choice. Here they take their trance seriously, going big on the mesmeric effect and the pagan angle. Tonight, Return To The Source is back due to demand (Megadog is off for the summer), and becomes a monthly fixture on the slightly scruffy dance scene.

Travel: Off we Goa

Somak Holidays (081-423 3000) is charging pounds 289 for a week including bed and breakfast at the Longuinhos resort, Goa, between 28 October and 15 December.

Travel Departures: Late packages

Inspirations (0293 822244): 22 April, Gatwick to Icmeler (Turkey), seven nights' bed and breakfast, pounds 159; 28 April, Manchester to Goa, 14 nights' bed and breakfast, pounds 329; 1 May, Luton to Paphos, seven nights' bed and breakfast, pounds 269.

I Confess: The playwright Martin Sherman on Edna Ferber

Between the ages of 10 and 15 I swallowed books whole. Mostly the classics of American literature like Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Hemingway . . . but the one who stayed with me was Edna Ferber. Nearly all her books - Showboat, Cimarron, Saratoga Trunk and Giant - have been made into films and musicals. They're potboilers and they're all weepies, but what makes them extraordinary is how feminist they are. They're always about an independent young woman who falls in love with a glamorous man from an unusual cultural background. She always winds up becoming the strongest member of the society she joins and fighting for something honourable . . . although I have a nasty feeling there's a lot of talk about Robber Barons whenever she's up against a rich capitalist (which she usually is).

Travel Departures: Tropical deals

THOMSON Holidays (081-200 8733) has cut pre-Christmas prices on its World Wide and Faraway Shores holidays. For example, a 14-night, room-only package from Gatwick to Goa is available from pounds 299. A 14-night, room-only deal to Barbados costs from pounds 549, while a seven-night, room-only holiday to the Gloucestershire Hotel in Jamaica's Montego Bay costs from pounds 575 - a saving of pounds 80 on the current brochure price.

Letter: The toe of Goa tale

Sir: The woman who bit off St Francis Xavier's toe was not 'ecstatic' ('Vatican threatens to cast out the exorcists of Goa', 20 November), but a Portuguese noblewoman with an eye to the main chance. She bit it off on one of the rare occasions when the body was exposed for the veneration of the faithful and took it home to establish a rival attraction for the pilgrim trade in her family chapel.

Vatican threatens to cast out the exorcists of Goa: The Church is worried about the unconventional zeal with which some members have been pursuing the Evil One, Tim McGirk writes from Nuvem

THE boy was let loose for the exorcism. His keepers at the Christ Ashram kept a lock and chain around his ankle in case the boy, aged 11, needed to be swiftly restrained again. 'It's usually during the monsoon when he gets violent,' said Eugenio Gonsalves, an ex-seminarian, a large man in a white smock with a sweet voice and long wavy hair. 'Seven men cannot hold him. Only Miguel can.' Eugenio motioned to an old spidery man in torn shorts leaning against a tree with a bucket of water.

Out of India: Zombie-like on the beach with Eight-Finger Eddie

GOA - You don't find freaks here any more like Eight-Finger Eddie or Alejandro the opium-loving South American with the bull-whip, or even the German boy perched ever so quietly on a rock with a few feathers in his lank hair who, after a passage of ordinary conversation, confesses: 'Actually, I'm a bird'.

Travel: The best way to Goa: Karaoke in Ye Olde Taj Mahal pub was what Naomi Marks dreaded on her package tour to India's smallest state. She found luxuriant beauty and Portuguese baroque

THE TAXI driver tilted back in his seat: 'Whatever it's like,' he begged, 'tell everybody that it's not up to much.' This Kenyan-born British citizen, who had not yet set foot in the land of his ancestors but had high hopes, was keen for me to enjoy Goa - but not to spread the word. 'It will get ruined,' he explained, as he took me to Gatwick on the first stage of a two-week package holiday in the former Portuguese colony that is the smallest of India's 25 states.

Somewhere a trustafarian is watching Neighbours

ANNE, an ex-flatmate of mine, wakes up to spend another day doing absolutely nothing except sit around waiting to watch the lunchtime and evening transmissions of Neighbours and Home and Away. This is her only routine, and the way she differentiates morning from afternoon.

The elephant didn't get me, but I'm worried: Now Peter Rosengard is not paranoid, but he's left-handed, he's the same age as Bill Clinton, and he keeps having these narrow escapes

MY WEEKEND cottage is in deepest Sussex, just up the road from the sleepy village of Wadhurst, where this month a couple were shot to death in their home. ('It looks like the work of a professional hitman,' the local police chief commented.) The other night I was just turning into my drive when I heard Alistair Cooke on the radio saying: 'Sleeping causes heart attacks, according to a new American survey. So rest but don't sleep. Good night'. I woke up at 2.17am, 3.23am, 4.47am and 6.18am.

Mass tourism blamed for paradise lost in Goa: Tour operators who promote an Indian state as a dream holiday destination are accused of turning a blind eye to reality. David Nicholson-Lord reports

THE WORDS and imagery are persuasive: they speak of dream holidays, friendly locals, an unspoilt, palm-fringed paradise. The reality is drug abuse, child prostitution and widespread environmental destruction.
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