News French actor Gerard Depardieu poses with people from Estaimpuis during a ceremony held in his honor at the Chateau Bourgogne

Mayor of Estaimpuis credits French star with boosting the economy, creating jobs and bringing new visitors to the small corner of Wallonia

British charity consultant kidnapped in Somalia

A British consultant working for Save the Children in Somalia was abducted by masked gunmen last night along with his native colleague, the aid agency said today.

'Britain has changed, but not the prejudice'

One of Britain's most enduring gay couples celebrate 50th anniversary

A taste of Transylvania: Mark Hix recreates some delicious Romanian artisan specialities

A few weeks ago, Jason Lowe and I found ourselves in the middle of a field in a forest in Biertan, in Transylvania. We had been invited over to attend the Transylvania Festival, which was showcasing some of the best local artisan food producers – along with various ceramicists and copper still and cauldron makers who were selling their wares. Jason, who can never resist buying random culinary objects of desire on his travels, bought himself a lovely big old goulash cauldron and tripod (although I had a hard time persuading him to buy a full-blown copper distilling kit).

British nuns who saved wartime Jews on path to sainthood

Tucked away on a side street on the east bank of the Tiber, the Casa di Santa Brigidia guesthouse has specialised in welcoming weary travellers for much of the past century.

No roundabouts, just nine miles of road – and now one speed gun

The sleepy island of St Mary's in the Isles of Scilly is something of a motoring anomaly. With just nine miles of road, bereft of roundabouts or traffic lights, the biggest irony was once fact that aspiring drivers could take their test there.

Take the trouble out of your World Cup trip with a complete package deal

Five British tour operators have been licensed by Fifa to sell World Cup packages, including flights, accommodation, transfers, excursions and admission to England games. "Sales were very strong to begin with, especially the long-term packages of 18 nights," said Lynsey Devon of Thomson Sport (0845 121 2018; thomsonsport.com). "But people are taking their time now." A four-night package around the England-Slovenia qualifying game at Port Elizabeth costs £2,537. That rises to £3,999 if you want to see all three of England's group matches.

Deborah Ross: 'Dangerous dogs will be forced to stay inside making perfumed soaps for the hospitality industry'

If you ask me, now the election has been called, it is time to throw my hat into the ring, which is harder than it looks, particularly as I don't have a hat, or a ring. Still, I did have an old pen to hand, which I threw at the window, so now I've thrown an old pen at a window, I would ask you to vote for me based on the following pledges:

Police investigate 'homophobic' guest house Swiss B&B

Police were investigating an alleged "homophobic incident" today after a gay couple claimed they were turned away from a bed & breakfast.

Taliban strike at heart of Kabul, killing at least 16

Indians believed to be targets, but Italian secret service officer and French film producer also dead / Militants trying to prove they are still a potent force, even as they are overwhelmed in south by Nato troops

Suicide bombers strike in the heart of Kabul

Suicide bombers struck in the heart of the Afghan capital Kabul today, triggering a series of explosions and gun battles that killed at least 17 people, police said.

Best for getting lost: Fez

Every great city is entirely itself and nowhere else. At the same time, they're all like ... somewhere. Somewhere that doesn't exist. A Platonic copy, perhaps; an embodiment of the idea of the city, whatever that may be. Morocco has several versions – all different – but in the end Tangier, Rabat and Marrakesh seem to me just rehearsals for the world's great masterpiece, Fez. In particular, the Bali Medina, the walled Old City, of Fez. The traditional Great City – traditional now, in our post-Enlightenment eyes – is a place of visual harmony, of vistas and prospects, squares, spires and domes. Old Fez is the exact opposite. The alleyways of the medina are so sinuous, straitened and overbuilt that there is, quite literally, no view. You never know what is around the next corner as it tilts down towards the river. You barely know where the next corner is. There is no angle that can lead the eye upwards more than 30ft. The rooflines are a mystery. The medina from the air reveals nothing about the medina on the ground. The eye is made useless.

Tips and deals of the week: 24/01/2010

Deals of the Week

Sunday in the Lakes for £9.99

Snap up one of 200 rooms in the Lake District that will be available from just £9.99 on 24, 31 January and 7 February. Go to golakes.reader.travel

Chalet holidays: A snow place like home

British skiers' love for Alpine chalets is as strong as ever, says Stephen Wood
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz