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".

Painful hurdle ahead in Vendée Globe

Thirty six hours of pain face the leaders in the Vendée Globe singlehanded non-stop round the world race, but 3,000 miles of jangling nerves are in prospect for two of the eight boats on the second leg of the Volvo race from Cape Town to Kochi, south-west India.

Broken boom slows Green Dragon's Volvo progress

A smashed boom in 50 knots of wind slowed the progress of the Irish entry Green Dragon on the second leg of the Volvo round the world race yesterday.

Somali pirates 'seize tanks'

Pirates have seized a Ukrainian cargo vessel carrying T-72 tanks off eastern Somalia, an official said today.

Spas, stars and the two Rs: what's new in the Maldives?

Only about 200 of its 1,196 islands are inhabited – which leaves room for more upmarket resorts, says Simmy Richman

The Travel Issue: Maldives in December

The pale sea stretches below, punctuated by flashes of green and gold where reefs and sunlight collide. As the plane tumbles forwards, pockets of land, so tiny they are barely visible, emerge from a blanket of blue.

The Complete Guide To: Zanzibar

The exotic name says it all: these islands off the east coast of Africa are a heady mix of coral beaches, weird wildlife, spicy history – and voodoo, says James Palmer

O'Neill plans January raid on players to take Villa into Europe

The manager of Aston Villa, Martin O'Neill, will present his wish list of players to the new owner Randy Lerner next week but will only sign players on long-term contracts in January who have a good chance of restoring former glories to the Midlands club .

Hope/MacGregor/Britten Sinfonia, Assembly Rooms/Pavilion, Bath <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

The violinist Daniel Hope spent his infancy in Yehudi Menuhin's house, and East Meets West, his new CD, echoes Menuhin's collaboration with Ravi Shankar, West Meets East, of four decades ago. Hope now commissions new works, and rescues undervalued old ones, so it was no surprise to find him doing both at the Bath Festival. With piano accompaniment, he started his first concert, also called "East Meets West", with the lusty rhythms of De Falla, then moved eastwards via Ravel and Bartok to Takemitsu, before new-minted musical tributes to Menuhin and Shankar with a North Indian ensemble.

Orange pledges free broadband for bigger spenders

Orange pledged to give its high-spending mobile phone customers free broadband access yesterday, while its smaller rival Plusnet cut prices to under £10 a month as competition in the UK's broadband market intensified.

Art Deco house

A bold new extension has transformed this Art Deco house into a statement home for the 21st-century family.

Five Best: Spas with a view

Every scrub-down needs a perfect setting. By Rhiannon Batten

Robinson gambles on Stevens to shake up England pack

Matt Stevens, born a stone's throw from the Indian Ocean but schooled as a professional rugby player on the banks of the River Avon, will make his Six Nations Championship debut for England in Dublin this weekend, having beaten his similarly out-sized Bath colleague Duncan Bell to the No 3 shirt. Like most of the tough decisions made by red rose management of late, this is something of a gamble. Stevens is one hell of a prop forward, but he has yet to demonstrate that he is one hell of a tight-head prop forward.

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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 15 May 2015
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'