News Arms deals fixer Ziad Takieddine has been refused entry to Britain

A controversial fixer for arms deals linked to an alleged corruption scandal that engulfed Nicolas Sarkozy has been refused entry to Britain.

Not always great outdoors: Opera Holland Park

Opera al fresco? What could possibly go wrong?

Stag beetles and bats are among the hazards of outdoor performances, says Michael Volpe, head of Opera Holland Park. And don't get him started on the weather...

Mazi, 12-14 Hillgate Street, London W8

So Greece votes against departing from the eurozone and embracing devaluation hell. Hurrah. Holidaymakers can return to Paxos or Lindos, safe in the knowledge that the currency won't go all funny while they're in mid-bouzouki dance. Foodies can explore Greek suppers again without wondering if dolmades and feta exports are going to dry up.

'Golden age' of museums threatened by Chancellor

Backlash builds against Osborne's proposed 'philanthropy tax'

Only goal difference is keeping Mark Hughes' QPR out of the Premier League relegation zone

QPR too good to go down, says Hughes

Manager confident his side can avoid relegation despite extremely tricky run-in to end of season

David Haye (right) hits Dereck Chisora during their press conference brawl in Germany

Haye: Brawl was all in self-defence

David Haye has claimed that he was acting in self-defence when he punched Dereck Chisora at this month's notorious post-fight press conference in Munich, and that he did not use the bottle he was holding as a weapon.

Olympic officials from Trinidad and Tobago will use the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn, North London, as a social centre during the Games

At the Tricycle Theatre this summer: no plays, but the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic team

A theatre in North London has become the highest-profile playhouse to give up competing with this summer's Olympic Games, deciding that it would be more lucrative to rent the venue to one of the visiting teams instead.

Owen Farrell, England’s only kicker today, gets used to the Twickenham conditions yesterday

Farrell factor offers threat to favourites

Wales arrive at red-rose HQ in great shape but are still wary of hosts' father-and-son combination

Scotland’s First Minister said the economic case for independence was 'absolutely clear'

PM steps up the rhetoric ahead of Salmond talks

David Cameron will today raise the rhetoric of the debate over Scotland's future by describing the UK as "precious" and promising to fight "head, heart and soul" to keep the union intact.

A fire broke out at the Olympic Park

Olympic ticketing 'too secretive'

The refusal of Olympics officials to provide information about how many tickets have been sold and at what price has jeopardised the public's confidence in the ticketing arrangements for the Games, according to the London Assembly.

Squash: Matthew wins epic title battle

Nick Matthew prevailed in the historic men's British National Championship final between the top two players in the world when he beat James Willstrop in an 81-minute display of dazzling, world-class squash at the National Squash Centre in Manchester yesterday.

A design by Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding

Simple pleasures: The new minimalists

They're talented, disciplined and creating clothes that whisper rather than shout, Alex Fury profiles the new minimalists

Olympic sponsorship tensions reignite

A former London 2012 ethics commissioner who resigned in protest after a decision to accept sponsorship from the chemical multinational Dow, which now owns the company responsible for the Bhopal disaster in India, reignited the row this weekend, accusing a senior Olympic official of misrepresenting her.

This perky side table is the latest collaboration from upcoming designer Mia Hamborg and the Danish crafts team &Tradition. All the parts, which are hand-built from lacquered wood to look like huge colourful beads, can be taken apart and reassembled, instantly giving your living room a bright new look

Atheist victory on council prayers

Christians and politicians reacted with dismay as the High Court today outlawed the centuries-old tradition of formal prayers being said at the start of local council meetings up and down the country.

Taekwondo: Stevenson is Games doubt

The world champion Sarah Stevenson's participation in the Olympics is in doubt after she underwent surgery yesterday to repair cruciate ligament damage sustained at a recent training camp in Mexico.

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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
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own