Arts and Entertainment

chances are that you have spent the past two weeks wrapping, unwrapping and wolfing down the stuff brought to you by people like the cheerful rating whom Horatio Clare calls "N".

Pirates threaten to kill children

Pirates holding three children and their parents have said they will kill them if any rescue attempt is made.

Pirates captured on 'mother vessel'

The Indian navy has captured 28 suspected Somali pirates from a Thai fishing vessel after a brief exchange of gunfire in the Indian Ocean.

Mauritius: Two men 'confess to hotel murder'

Two of the three hotel employees who were arrested in Mauritius for the murder of a Northern Ireland woman on honeymoon have confessed to the killing, the country's commissioner of police has told Irish radio.

A Disastrous History of the World, By John Withington

The publisher seems to be pushing its luck by describing this haul of the "nastiest things to have afflicted humanity" as "compulsively readable and entertaining". Weirdly enough, this is spot on. Withington's eye for detail enlivens what might otherwise be a morbid litany.

Maldives – home of rising sea levels and the green elite's new meeting place

As environmentalists head for Cancun, the President pioneers a new type of eco-symposium

Tough new rules on marriage vows in Maldives

The Maldives has set new rules for conducting marriage ceremonies for tourists drawn to the islands' beaches, after being embarrassed by a celebrant who heaped abuse on a Swiss couple renewing their vows.

Travel Agenda: Ski and Snowboard Show; NuBeginnings' luxury bootcamp; A Hedonist's guide to Marrakech; Trou aux Biches resort in Mauritius

Today: The Ski and Snowboard Show is in full swing at Olympia in London, with a Quebec husky lodge, ice-driving experience and Snowbombing after-party; the show runs until tomorrow ( metrosnow.co.uk).

Scientists explain parting of Red Sea

One of the most dramatic episodes in the Old Testament, the parting of the Red Sea, may actually have happened, research has shown – although the event described in the Book of Exodus was more likely caused by freak weather conditions than the hand of Jehovah.

Teenage sailor's mother drops opposition

The mother of a 14-year-old Dutch girl who wants to sail solo around the world said in an open letter published today that she has given up her opposition to her daughter's trip.

Coral: Lost at sea?

Coral reefs support a quarter of the world's marine life, but rising ocean temperatures are killing them. The impact of their decline could be huge, says marine biologist Olivia Durkin

Glenn Moore: The view from the beach

It really does not get much better than this. Fifty yards in front of me the waves break from the Indian Ocean onto Durban’s shoreline.

Somali pirates free UK-flagged ship after ransom

Somali pirates have released a British-flagged ship they seized on 1 January, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry said on yesterday, and the European Union Naval Force said the release came after a ransom was paid.

The Maldives: Enjoy the splendid isolation while it lasts

My eyes are stinging from the salty water which is seeping into my snorkel as I navigate the shallows. The odd fish flits past. I’m heading, I hope, in the direction of the renowned house reef at the Lily Beach resort at Huvahendoo in the Maldives. So far so pleasant, but unspectacular.

Leaking oil rig ablaze in Timor sea

Australia promised an investigation today after a massive fire erupted on an oil rig that had been leaking into the Timor Sea - the latest drama in a 10-week saga to plug the hole.

The Big Six: Indian Ocean villas

From Creole style and contemporary opulence to a five-bedroom villa that is ideal for guests who don't want to share the sand with anyone else...
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India and Nepal
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Dutch Masters
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Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor