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

The Big Six: Luxury Forest Retreats

UN to pull its staff out of Afghanistan

Insurgent attacks see 600 workers evacuated – and they may never come back

UN relocating 600 staff after Taliban attack

The United Nations said today that it is temporarily relocating more than half its staff in Afghanistan following last week's deadly Taliban attack.

Julius Cavendish: 'They jumped from balconies to escape'

There was nothing remarkable about the three men in police uniforms sauntering down the middle of the street – until one began spraying the green gate of the Bekhtar guesthouse with rounds from his Kalashnikov.

Five UN staff killed in suicide attack on Kabul guesthouse

Authorities urged to step up protection after 'dark day' for agency in Afghanistan

12 dead in Kabul attack on UN staff

Gunmen wearing suicide vests stormed a guest house used by UN staff in the heart of the Afghan capital early Wednesday, killing 12 people — including six UN staff — officials said. The US Embassy said one of the UN dead was American.

Varanasi: The last stop before nirvana

The Indian holy city is regarded as the last stop before nirvana. But these days the place seems more interested in attracting tourists than the devout. Andrew Buncombe reports

How to keep it comfy on the flashpacker trail

South-east Asia specialises in cheap yet chic lodgings. Andrew Spooner picks his favourites

Hotel owners to be named and shamed over fire safety

Fire Service leaders plan to make public the names of those who put lives at risk with blocked exits and stairways and faulty smoke alarms

Flouted fire rules risk holidaymakers' lives

Hundreds of British hoteliers have been issued with fire authority warnings, <i>IoS</i> research reveals

The Legend of Liz &amp; Joe, By John Murray

Dystopian fantasy is a comic feast

Editor-At-Large: Older mums are 'selfish', but older dads are studs ...

The death from cancer at 69 last week of the world's oldest mum produced some provocative headlines – and I suspect they were written by men. "Two-year-old twin sons orphaned" is factually correct, but will these small children really ever remember their mother?

North Korea interested in freeing US reporters

North Korea appears "seriously interested" in releasing two convicted American journalists but first wants the United States to acknowledge what Pyongyang sees as their "hostile acts," a US-based scholar who visited Pyongyang said today.

Donald Qubeka and Liziwe Ngcokoto: 'South Africa is a time bomb that is ticking'

Their story is so incredible, you wouldn't bet against a film one day being made based on their experiences. Already, someone in the Netherlands is writing a book about this remarkable South African couple.

Five-star service at this Thai budget bolthole

Thailand's small guest houses offer an affordable, authentic and stylish taste of this southeast Asian country, says Andrew Spooner
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Day In a Page

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
Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable