Grounds people work in the gardens at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa

In pictures: South Africa prepares for Nelson Mandela's funeral

South African government announced that preparations for the funeral of former president Nelson Mandela are in full swing. Mandela's body is being prepared by the Military Health Service of the South African National Defense Force to lie in state at the Union Buildings.Works are also underway at various venues such as the Union Buildings in Pretoria, FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, Mthatha and Qunu in the Eastern Cape, and at ports of entry to prepare for the events related to the State Funeral.

Ben Stokes and Mitchell Johnson confront each other on day four of the second Ashes Test

Ashes 2013-14: England and Australia all-rounders Ben Stokes and Mitchell Johnson cleared of misconduct after day four clash

The pair came face-to-face after colliding when the former ran for a single, hitting bowler Johnson as he ran up the pitch

Union-League cross-code fixture plan denied

The Rugby Football League is not planning to participate in a hybrid-code fixture with the Australian rugby union team.

Roy wonder: Hodgson considers the worst-case scenario draw of Manaus

World Cup 2014: Roy Hodgson happy with England-Italy time switch

The match will now start at 11pm BST, rather than 2am

There are 'huge disparities' in the quality of train services in different regions of Britain, according to a report for the Campaign for Better Transport

‘Huge disparities’ in train services across Britain

There are “huge disparities” in the quality of train services in different regions of Britain, according to a report for the Campaign for Better Transport.

Brad Haddin and Matt Prior have words at stumps in Adelaide on Sunday

Ashes 2013-14: Joe Root keeps smiling through heat of the sledging battle

No one is saying what is being said out in the middle as the Ashes sledging war rages. Safe to assume that the players are not asking for addresses to send Christmas cards.

Fighting talk: Aaron Cook (red hat) meets Lutalo Muhammad next week

Taekwondo: At last! Rivals get chance to settle Olympic scrap

Before London 2012, Aaron Cook and Lutalo Muhammad became embroiled in a bitter dispute which rocked Britain's preparations for the Games

High ideals: Labour has built around 400 homes in each of its local authority areas since the election

The great housing crisis: Labour beats Tories over new homes

Conservative councils build only half as much affordable and social housing

Roy wonder: Hodgson considers the worst-case scenario draw of Manaus

World Cup 2014: England promised hostile reception after Roy Hodgson gaffe

The mayor of Manaus, Artur Virgilio, has suggested that the hot reception awaiting England in the city may not be restricted to the sweltering local temperatures. "We are going to make England welcome in Manaus. But that won't stop us cheering for Italy. There are a lot of Italian fans in Brazil. Our connection with Italy goes way back," he said in reference to the large number of descendants of Italian immigrants.

Roy Hodgson at the World Cup draw

World Cup 2014: Roy Hodgson suffers first World Cup defeat

Fifa have bowed to pressure to bring forward England's match in Manaus with Italy

England batsman Ian Bell has said the team have

Ashes 2013-14: Ian Bell tells England they have 'no excuses' after embarrassing batting collapse in Second Test

Australia hold a mammoth 530-run lead over England with two days still to play

Rebecca Adlington denies pregnancy rumours

The Olympic swimmer has been the subject of speculation after being made exempt from some Bushtucker Trials on medical grounds

‘Small Business Saturday’ hopes to boost the UK high street in Black Friday style

It’s one American import that may find favour with even the most passionate opponent of the UK’s importation of US culture.

New NYPD chief was PM’s choice for Met

Bill Bratton, the former New York police commissioner credited with overseeing a sharp drop in crime in the mid-90s, has been named as the city’s next police chief by incoming Mayor Bill de Blasio, replacing Ray Kelley, who was criticised for the department’s stop-and-frisk policies

Video star: Olympic medal winner Tom Daley

Tom Daley: modern man

The revelation about the Olympian's sexuality, delivered on YouTube to a fascinated world, says more about the age we live in than Tom Daley's love life

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links