Sport

First Twenty20 International: England 151-1 (17.5 overs) beat Australia 150-3 (20 overs) by nine wickets

The snow globe in Piccadilly Circus, London, which was installed over the statue of Eros to shelter it from vandals over the Christmas season, was another victim of the strong winds that are blowing across the Capital

Giant Christmas snow globe to 'protect' statue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus shatters in high winds

A giant plastic snow globe meant to protect the famous statue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus over Christmas has mysteriously broken, showering shoppers in polystyrene pellets.

A worshipper lights candles at the Church of the Nativity

O’ empty town of Bethlehem: a trickle of visits to the site of Christ’s birth thanks to intifadas and ongoing tensions

Intifadas and ongoing tensions are keeping Christian pilgrims and tourists away from Bethlehem, says

Stavroula Chasandra, an ichthyologist of Selonda fish farming company holds a glass container with newborn sea bass at a hatchery in Psachna village on Evia island, Greece

In pictures: Fish farms to pull Greece out of its economic downfall

Six years of deep recession have shrunk Greek economy by a quarter and shut thousands of businesses. Fish farming is seen as one of the few sectors that could help pull Greece out of its economic quagmire, if it sorts itself out first.

Not again! For the 10th time, Kevin Pietersen is dismissed by Peter Siddle caught on this occasion by a jubilant Mitchell Johnson

Ashes 2013-14: Becalmed England start to watch the Ashes floating away

Tourists’ attempted fightback in crucial Third Test in Perth is restricted  by indisciplined batting, tight Australian bowling and sheer bad luck

Kenya: 'Grenade thrown at British tourists in Mombasa'

According to initial reports a number of British travellers escaped the attack near Mombasa after the grenade failed to explode

Simon Calder, Travel Editor for The Independent, is advising on travel to Brazil for those heading out for the FIFA World Cup in 2014
Tim Bresnan scored a half-century and took four first-innings wickets last week

Ashes 2013-14: Tim Bresnan 'ready' to return for second Test

Tim Bresnan says he was always aiming to return in time for the second Ashes Test after suffering a stress fracture of the lower back in August.

An Australian PA was sacked for announcing Monty Panesar's name in an Indian accent

Ashes 2013-14: Announcer denies racial slur towards England spinner Monty Panesar after he was sacked by Cricket Australia

David Nixon was sacked on the spot during England's warm-up match against a Chairman's XI for allegedly introducing Panesar in an Indian accent

Ashes 2013-14: England spin their way to a draw ahead of second Test

Chairman’s XI v England, tour match, Traeger Park Oval, second day

Mitchell Johnson claims that England are ‘rattled’ by his hostile fast bowling

Ashes 2013-14: More bouncers are on the way for second Test, says Mitchell Johnson the destroyer

As if he had not done enough damage, Mitchell Johnson verbally bounced England on Wednesday. In a press conference in Perth, his home town, the fastest bowler in the world announced that Australia would continue bouncing their opponents.

Australia captain Michael Clarke exchanges words with England's James Anderson

Ashes 2013-14: Australia captain Michael Clarke fined for 'using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting' towards England bowler James Anderson

The ICC have hit Clarke with a 20% fine of his match fee after his comments in the closing stages of the first Test in Brisbane

Ashes 2013-14: Clueless England go from bad to worse as Aussies dominate third day of opening Test

Australia v England, First Test, , third day

Julian Savea scores his first of two tries in New Zealand's win over England

England 22 New Zealand 30 match report: Gallant England seen off by Julian Savea’s killer blow

Hosts fought back from a 14 point deficit to lead but wing Savea bagged two tries to earn gruelling victory

England batsman shines on day three of their final warm-up match against Australia XI before the Ashes series

Ashes 2013-14: Joe Root lands second successive fifty to ease fears over England's middle order

Four of the top six batsman passed the half-century mark but runs for Root will be the most pleasing thing for England

Steven Finn

Ashes 2013-14: Steve Finn closes on Test place with timely reminder of his strike-rate

England make hay in the Sydney sunshine

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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