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Last Night's TV: Afghanistan: the Battle for Helmand, BBC2<br/>Top Gear, BBC3

Today it takes images of smoke pouring from a Kabul hotel popular with Westerners to pull Afghanistan from the inside pages. Almost a decade after British and American troops set about bringing "enduring freedom" to a land to which the origins of 9/11 were apparently traced in a matter of weeks, all that has endured is a sorry stream of news-in-briefs. The names of the dead pool in the back of the mind, along with "explosion" graphics on brown BBC maps, so as to become increasingly meaningless. Do you know how many British pounds or lives have been spent in Afghanistan – or why?

Get set to doff your cap to these Aussie raiders

Hat-trick is on the Royal Ascot cards as Star Witness, Hinchinbrook and So You Think have the speed to stun the Poms

Diary: Campbell's legal logic makes Shaggy's lyrics look like Shakespeare

In seeking to understand the great figures of the age, few areas offer more potential for insight as the primary paternal influence. With Mrs Thatcher it was that austere Grantham grocer Alderman Roberts, while Messrs Blair and Bush would cite the Creator to whom each was linked by earthly-celestial red phone line. With Alastair Campbell, meanwhile, all finally becomes clear.

Mark Steel: It's the wrong people doing the gagging

You can understand why some tabloid newspapers are upset about these super-injunctions. Because when they write something about a footballer with a prostitute it's almost the only time they print a story that's true. Then it turns out that's the article they're not allowed to publish. How is that fair?

The big quiz on television movers and shakers

Who said TV isn't fun any more? The two biggest cult figures on the box are a mop-headed science boffin and a neurotic Scandinavian police detective.

Paul Vallely: Clarkson is a victim of his own values

The vandalising of the 'Top Gear' presenter's fence comes from the same mindset that underpins his fame and fortune

How has Clarkson caused offence this time? With a fence...

The Top Gear presenter is at war with neighbours over ancient rights of way bordering his Isle of Man home. Tom Peck on a six-year feud

Charles Nevin: Introducing a very modern Englishman

Start the week...

Paxman broke BBC impartiality rules

Presenter in trouble for article on Iraq war 'lies'

Terence Blacker: Whose idea of a joke involves sneering at dead people?

Once those in a position to reveal the flaws of those in power become establishment insiders, the world is much less problematical for politicians

Letters: multiculturalism

I am alarmed that David Cameron denigrated multiculturalism, to the applause of European Union ministers, some of whom are from right-wing parties. It was in Munich that Hitler held fascist rallies.

Top Gear comments &lsquo;vulgar, but not a matter for the law&rsquo;

Human rights chief bows out of &lsquo;Top Gear&rsquo; row. By Luke Blackall
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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
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue