Severe delays affect key Olympic transport routes

Passengers travelling on key Olympic routes endured delays today as a series of problems hit Tube and light railway systems in London.

Torchbearer Phillips Idowu 'full of emotion'

British medal hopeful Phillips Idowu was "full of emotion" today as he carried the Olympic Torch in Stratford - just a stone's throw from the Olympic Park in east London.

Protesters plan to target equestrian star with links to Assad regime

Syria is sending its largest Olympic team since the Moscow Games in 1980
London's Camden Beach

City beaches: Britain's coastal explosion

You might not be able to see the sea, but a wave of temporary beaches inspired by hip European hangouts are bringing summer to our cities

Rebecca Armstrong: Hen nights can be amazing – or horribly embarrassing

I caught sight of a rather unusual list on a work friend's notepad recently. I won't go into the graphic details, but she was compiling a list of synonyms for the male member. After having a good goggle at it (and suggesting a few additions), I asked why she'd put penis to paper. It was all in aid of a forthcoming hen night, she explained, where each attendee would be given an alternative name for the night, chosen from the fruits of her labour. There was also going to be a stripper from the Full Monty school of disrobement. Luckily, I don't know the hen in question, so won't be invited to the festivities (and if I was, I'd already be compiling my own list – of excuses as to why I couldn't come).

John Munday, museum curator and artist, born Portsmouth 10 August 1924

John Munday: Respected curator at the National Maritime Museum

When the full history of British national museums in the 20th century is written, the late 1960s and '70s may seem rather a golden age.

London's brand new £60m 'flying bus' route opens

Having been waved off by a group of north London delicatessen workers, one of a rotating smorgasboard of sectional groups beaming out from an enormous screen in the “terminal building”, a jolt of acceleration begins one's journey on London's brand new £60m flying bus route. “You are cruising at an altitude of 295 feet. Please remain seated at all times,” informs the piped in stewardess.

The London 2012 Olympic stadium has been at the centre of a long-running saga over its future

50,000 more Olympic tickets go on sale

Another 50,000 Olympic tickets were put up for sale today.

London cable car to launch

The UK's first urban cable car system will open next week.

Observations: Prometheus lives again – and takes to the streets

Not to be confused with Ridley Scott's alien thriller Prometheus, another reinterpretation of the Greek myth arrives in Greenwich next week. Prometheus Awakes will be a piece of theatre on a grand scale - providing the weather stays fine.

Zara Phillips

Zara Phillips hoping it's third time lucky after being selected for Olympics

Zara Phillips hopes it can be a case of third time lucky after being selected for her Olympics debut.

Doreen Lawrence tells of reaction to guilty verdict

Doreen Lawrence, mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, has described how she had to hold herself back from screaming when her son's killers were found guilty.

Fire crews battle south-east London factory blaze

Around 70 firefighters are tackling a blaze at a factory today.

Olympics missiles plan unveiled

Military chiefs said today that they hoped to “allay people's fears” as they unveiled surface-to-air missiles which could be deployed at six sites across London during the Olympics.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there