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

Christina Patterson: Diet books? They're just for reading

The wrong kind of weather, and indeed management, may be the chief cause of delays on our own super-pricey trains, but in New York explanations for late-running trains are a little less prosaic. According to the city's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the main culprits, after engineering problems, are "fainting dieters". Only in the land of the free and the faddy could an urgent desire to squeeze into your size-0 jeans bring public transport grinding to a halt. The supersized, wedged into seats increasingly designed for baby whales, must be furious.

Leading Turkish writer faces jail after incurring wrath of military

A Turkishnewspaper columnist will confront the might of the state in a case which exposes the refusal of the Turkish establishment to accept European human rights laws.

Get back: letter from Lennon to critic of Beatles sells for £12,000

A letter from John Lennon denying that the Beatles "ripped off" black music fetched £12,000 at auction yesterday.

Hotels to be banned from turning away gay couples

Hoteliers are to be banned from turning away homosexual couples in a fresh drive against anti-gay prejudice. A Single Equality Act, which forbids discrimination against homosexuals in goods and services, is to be introduced by the Government, Jacqui Smith, the Equalities minister said.

Letter: British bondage

Sir: Your article about the bed and bondage guest house in San Francisco made entertaining reading and did not seek to judge sadomasochists ("B&B that offers an alternative to breakfast", 15 December).

American Times - SAN FRANCISCO: B&B that offers an alternative to breakfast

THE HOUSE on Caine Street is no ordinary B&B. It does not appear on any San Francisco accommodation agency's list. It is not in an obviously touristy part of town. There is no sign outside to advertise its services. Even the neighbours aren't too sure what goes on there, although they have an idea that it is pretty damn weird.

The complete guide to; cultural holidays

Ever fancied cutting a dash at the local salsa night, or dazzling your friends with your fluent Italian? Ever wanted to know more about Ancient Greek civilisation but been put off by the thought of stuffy evening classes in a draughty town hall? Well, there are now plenty of holidays on offer which combine stimulating activity with exotic locations. So go on: improve yourself. Cultivate your cultural side as well as your tan. By Pascale de Lacoudraye Harter

Just for the sauce of it

Brian, the proprietor of a Brighton seafood restaurant ("The Freshest Fish at Affordable Prices") was in no doubt at all on the matter: "The old style, traditional English seaside holiday - bucket and spade, yeah? Dead, mate," he assured me. We were standing at the time on his not-at- all sunny forecourt, and Brian was grappling quite bravely with an outsize parasol in the teeth of the sort of loud, ferocious and buffeting wind that threatened to lift up even the red checked and heavily weighted tablecloths and whisk them over for a cheap and impromptu Awayday to France.
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore