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
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn