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

Katy Holland: The jolly business of house swapping

Are we there yet? If you’ve got it (a home, that is), flaunt it

Beer and blogging

Now there’s a combination! Even better, it’s a combination that will be featuring right here, when the winner of a travel-writing competition organised by brewers SABMiller, in association with The Independent, begins posting in early March.

Andrew Buncombe: Silence descends on the noisiest city

Dhaka Notebook: I wonder whether Dhaka's reputation might be somewhat unfair

The orphan, the nanny, and a tale of hope from Mumbai

Son of the rabbi killed in the terror attacks is building a new life in Israel with the carer who saved his life

Holy war strikes India

35 Christians killed and 50,000 forced from their homes by Hindu mobs enraged at Swami's murder

Katy Holland: Learning a language should be fun

Are we there yet? How to get the family talking

Shhh, keep it to yourself, the Algarve's great for a holiday

Get a taste of the coast's quiet side at this stylish resort

'Rockefeller' is wanted German

A man charged with kidnapping his daughter in Boston is a German who lived in the guesthouse of a Los Angeles-area couple who disappeared in 1985, a sheriff's spokesman said.

'Dead' husband wrote protest letter to council

Pretending to be dead would presumably involve keeping your head down and avoiding the attention of authorities. But not in the case of John Darwin.

B&Bs move into the realm of the internet

Any room at the inn? Savvy B&Bs don't rely on leaflets in the tourist office to bring in business. Today, it's all about the internet. Mark Rowe reports

Bear watching in Finland: A very close-up adventure

If you go down to the woods of eastern Finland today, you're sure of a big surprise, says Juliet Rix

The five best walks in mainland Scotland

The West Highland Way

Another tragedy in backpackers' haven as Briton dies of suspected drug overdose

There was little left to show of a life cut short in a £2-a-night hotel room just a stone's throw from paradise. There were some old T-shirts, a handful of undeveloped films and a battered journal filled with jottings and sketches. The rest of Michael Harvey's belongings had been taken away by police looking for clues.

Scarborough, Royal Court, London

Fiona Evans's play Scarborough won a Fringe First at last year's Edinburgh Festival, where it was a talking point because of its subject-matter – a dirty weekend in a Scarborough B&B involving a female PE teacher and a pupil 14 years her junior – and the uncomfortable intimacy of its staging. A tiny space was transformed into a dingy room in a faded seaside guesthouse, with the audience, turned into voyeurs, pinned against the walls.

Ethical: Uttarakhand, India

For many people, the most rewarding aspect of travel is experiencing other cultures. However, too often those other cultures are not themselves rewarded, the tourist's money going straight into the tour operator's pocket.

Career Services

Day In a Page

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