Hong Kong reports first case of deadly H7N9 bird flu strain amid fears it is spreading from China

Government issues ‘serious’ influenza pandemic response alert

Indonesian volcano erupts

Thousands flee as one of Indonesia's most active volcanoes erupts

The alert status for one of the archipelago’s most active volcanoes was raised to the highest level on Sunday after the mountain repeatedly sent hot clouds of gas down its slope following a series of eruptions in recent days.

Simon Read: An Australian 'frozen' pensioner speaks out

My report last week about 92-year ex-army veteran Vic Williams prompted a lot of response from readers. To remind you, Vic made a video for David Cameron - you'll find it here bit.ly/1d1mQ3t. In it he raises the issue of the pensions injustice that leaves almost half of our British pensioners who live abroad facing a frozen state pension while the rest get annual increases as if they still remained in this country.

Malaysia's notorious 'Lizard King' Anson Wong is back in business - to dismay of wildlife campaigners

Undercover investigation finds he is still smuggling endangered animals despite his licences being revoked

Andy McSmith's Diary: Death-wish cyclists, mooning children and a debate about litter

There has been some agonising in London about why six cyclists were killed on the roads in the space of less than two weeks. To this discussion, Lord James of Blackheath has made his distinctive contribution. His experience is that cyclists are “longing” to be run over. He told the House of Lords, during a debate on litter: “I have seen cyclists put their cycles up against the central reservation... and defy you to run them down while they photograph you doing it. This is what they are longing for.”

Death of woman, 31, brings Indonesia bird flu toll to 163

A 31-year-old housewife from Bekasi Timur, just east of Jakarta, has died from bird flu, bringing the death toll to 163 in the country hardest-hit by the virus.

The Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's praise for Sri Lanka has also horrified many

'All governments gather information': Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott admits to 'gathering information'

“All governments gather information … and all governments know that every other government gathers information,” Tony Abbott declared in parliament on Monday, effectively confirming reports that Australia had tried to eavesdrop on mobile phone conversations between the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and close confidants including his wife.

Anthony Hilton: Croydon’s plans for regeneration can show Brasilia a thing or two

One of the most depressing cities in the world to visit is Brasilia.It was all built at once in a short burst in the 1960s, and as a result it is all growing old at the same time. There is absolutely  no relief.

Mount Sinabung spews pyroclastic smoke as seen from Tigapancur village in Karo district

In pictures: Volcanic eruptions of Mount Sinabung in Sumatra causes up to 4,300 residents to be evacuated

The volcano has been erupting for several days, spewing ash and lava 2.5 miles into the sky.

Typhoon Haiyan survivors walk amid ruins of buildings in Maraboth, Philippines

Whether it’s Typhoon Haiyan or Rana Plaza, why are some victims more worthy than others?

For victims of disaster, the nightmare doesn’t end when the media averts its gaze

Jim O'Neill: Mint or Bric? Indonesia's drive is impressive as Russia's future dims

Economic View: Indonesians have a healthy preoccupation with the country's prospects

Vladimir Putin is awarded grandmaster rank in taekwondo and given black belt - despite not practising the sport

Russian president now ranks higher than Chuck Norris in South Korean martial art

Children who survived Typhoon Haiyan play on top of the ruins of their destroyed primary school in Guiuan, Philippines

Typhoon Haiyan: Four million children without food or water in Philippines as aid effort struggles

There is a desperate need for food, water and medicine in the aftermath of the disaster

Pope Francis arrives to conduct his weekly general audience at St. Peter's Square

Pope Francis: his life is in danger from 'ndrangheta, warns anti-mafia judge

Crackdown on financial corruption in Vatican has angered brutal crime syndicate, says Nicola Gratteri

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable