Travel Agenda: Okinawa Day; Hotel Le Seven; Britain to Rio de Janeiro

Today: Find out about Japan's southern islands at Okinawa Day in London's Spitalfields, which celebrates art, music and food from this sub-tropical archipelago (okinawaday.org.uk). From Asia to Iberia ... the capital is also celebrating Spanish food in Potters Fields Park next to City Hall with Tapas Fantasticas. The event, which runs over the weekend, celebrates wines from Rioja and the country's venerated food ( winesfromrioja.co.uk/tapasfantasticas ).

Istanbul bomb marks end of Kurdish ceasefire

Suspected Kurdish rebels blew up a military bus in Istanbul, killing four people in an attack likely to lead to an intensification of the conflict between the Turkish authorities and the country's Kurdish minority.

Roadside bomb kills four in Istanbul

A roadside bomb rocked a bus carrying military personnel and their families in Turkey's largest city of Istanbul today, killing four, after the Turkish army stepped up operations against Kurdish rebels.

Turkey: Pillars of wisdom

A family holiday to Turkey is a chance to explore ancient remains and fairytale landscapes, but it can also prompt some awkward questions from your children

New face of power in the Middle East

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's handling of the Gaza crisis has brought him into the spotlight – and his country into the centre of regional politics. Patrick Cockburn reports

Israel seizes second aid ship as protests grow

No shots fired as forces take control of vessel laden with medical supplies

Hamilton tames terrors of Istanbul's Turn 8

The drivers might only negotiate it for seven seconds, but at speeds between 153mph and 170mph they have to thread a needle that takes them through three apexes and more than 180 degrees, with forces greater than 3G.

Why buying in Istanbul now could bring Turkish delight tomorrow

While uncertainty remains in the property market at home – many are looking abroad for short and long-term returns

Forgotten authors No. 47: Nevil Shute & Eric Ambler

I sometimes wonder if this column's title is entirely right; perhaps it should be called 'Invisible Ink' because, while neither Nevil Shute nor Eric Ambler is truly forgotten, their words have faded to a faintness only discerned by loyal fans. Reprints are available and second-hand copies lie in Oxfam shops, but both authors have been caught out by the passage of time.

British banks hired to help list Turkish gold firm in Istanbul

London bankers are marketing the flotation of Koza Gold in a move that could value the Turkish miningcompany at around $2bn.

Che Committed Suicide, By Petros Markaris

Euro-crime buffs who have yet to meet the dictionary-loving Inspector Costas Haritos have an Athenian treat in store. Markaris is no formula-bound hack but a versatile author who, in his mysteries, turns the hero's sleuthing into a spotlight on a fast-changing Greek society.

WIN! A weekend for two in Istanbul

Prize Draw

Four Seasons Hotel, The Bosphorus, Istanbul

East meets west in dazzling splendour

The Museum of Innocence, By Orhan Pamuk, trs Maureen Freely

There's a tryst in this tale – but it badly lacks pace

Travel Agenda: Istanbul culture; Parisian cooking; Australian day out

Today...

This year's European Capital of Culture, Istanbul, has just been inaugurated. A year of cultural events, including an exhibition on Iranian civilisation at the Topkapi Palace, below, is underway (en.istanbul2010.org).

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