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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says ‘fighting has set Syria back decades’

Lisa Markwell: Why making a meal out of lists is a bad idea

You know what I never say to myself? Mmmmn, what I really fancy to eat tonight is an edible stone. Or crispy milk skin. Or some soil. This week – when the awards for the World's 50 Best Restaurants were announced – it's this kind of food that has been deemed most worthy of our attention. The winner of the No 1 slot (for a third year running) is Noma, the Danish paean to extraordinary, challenging dishes that look more like works of art than anything you'd put in your mouth. Coming up on the outside is Mugaritz, home of the stones (in actuality, potatoes made to look like stones. Go figure).

More children go to school hungry, warn teachers

Recession has caused a worrying rise in malnutrition among pupils, survey reveals

Aid crisis as children face starvation

Aid groups say they are nearly $200m short of the money needed to fight a growing hunger crisis threatening more than a million children across western and central Africa.

A table for one, please

The trend for no-reservation restaurants has a happy side-effect: dining alone has never been easier, says Charlotte McDonald-Gibson

Going solo: Charlotte McDonald-Gibson at Spuntino in Soho, where lone diners are welcomed

A table for one, please: Why dining alone has never been easier

The trend for no-reservation restaurants has a happy side-effect, says Charlotte McDonald-Gibson.

Charlie Creed-Miles (Bill) and Sammy Williams (Jimmy) break the cliched mould in <i>Wild Bill</i>

Wild Bill, Dexter Fletcher, 96 mins (15)
The Hunger Games, Gary Ross, 146 mins (12A)

Dexter Fletcher does the miraculous and breathes real life into the mouldering corpse of the gangster Britflick – but a much-touted dystopian fantasy is dead on arrival

Shaolin Soccer
The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games (12A)

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth

Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) with Gale (Liam Hemsworth)

The Hunger Games: A mums' and dads' guide

It's the forthcoming movie the kids are all talking about - and you don't want to be left looking a square. Let Genevieve Roberts and Kate Youde guide you through this cultural minefield

Opinion polls predict that Vladimir Putin will win the election easily

Politicians stage hunger strike for right to stand in Russian election

Protest in provincial town highlights growing sense of frustration with corrupt officials. Shaun Walker reports from Lermontov

The main food sponsors, Cadbury, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s may, respectively, be using only fair-trade cocoa, reducing their packaging waste, locally sourcing beef and sustainable fish but some question their presence at a festival of athletic excellence altogether

Winners' dinners: how we will feed the Olympic crowds

The past may very well be a foreign country, but when Britain last held the Olympic Games in 1948 it might as well have been on another planet. Back then we spent a mere £700,000 on the games and every British male competitor got a free pair of Y-fronts and a cup of Horlicks. Today the games costs closer to £9bn, Horlicks is off the menu and the only pants given to athletes are from sponsors, and some even get a hefty cheque for donning them.

The main food sponsors, Cadbury, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s may, respectively, be using only fair-trade cocoa, reducing their packaging waste, locally sourcing beef and sustainable fish but some question their presence at a festival of athletic excellence altogether

Winners' dinners: How will hordes of hungry Olympic athletes – and crowds of spectators – be fed?

The past may very well be a foreign country, but when Britain last held the Olympic Games in 1948 it might as well have been on another planet. Back then we spent a mere £700,000 on the games. Scouts carried messages between officials, and brought cups of tea for the runners. Everyone still had a ration book, and every British male competitor got a free pair of Y-fronts and a cup of Horlicks. Today the games costs closer to £9bn, Horlicks is off the menu and the only pants given to athletes are from sponsors, and some even get a hefty cheque for donning them.

Last Night's Viewing: Bees, Butterflies and Blooms, BBC2<br />My Life: Home Grown Boys, BBC1

"I'm on a campaign to wake people up," said Sarah Raven at the beginning of Bees, Butterflies and Blooms. She was on a mission, she explained, to prevent "a quiet catastrophe", namely the declining numbers of bees and pollinators in the ecosystem, a decline that might eventually have a direct impact on our ability to feed ourselves. It all sounded quite serious to me, entirely justifying her use of the word "crisis" at the very top of the programme. And it was at that point that I wondered whether Raven had really chosen the best title for her series. Bees, Butterflies and Blooms sounds like the title of a parish calendar, a bucolically cosy affair that sounds as if decoration is its highest goal. Looking at it in the schedules, you could easily dismiss it as a bit of natural history infill, designed to plug a gap in the mixed planting of the schedule's municipal flowerbed. It should really have been called "Don't You Get It You Fools, All the Bees Are Dying!"

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Independent Travel
Vietnam & Cambodia
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Bruges
India & Nepal
Japan
Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes