Sport A snowboarder flies through the center ring of the Olympic Rings, triggering an explosion of snow and ice off the rings during the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.

Almaty, Krakow, Lviv and Oslo are the others hoping to stage the games

Philippine Muslim rebel faction rejects talks

A rogue Muslim rebel commander in the Philippines has formed a separate faction of several hundred fighters and rejected peace talks to end the decades-long secessionist rebellion, leaders of the guerrillas today.

Joseph Conrad's Malaysia: Cruise exotic cross-currents of food and culture

My purest Joseph Conrad moment in Malaysia came after a dawn flight from the island of Penang down the coast of the peninsula to Kuala Lumpur. Half-awake, I stumbled into the KL arrivals hall to find it a sea of white robes. The crowd trailed cardboard monoliths of baggage tied in string: they were hajjis, just returned from Mecca.

Unveiled: Work by Anthony Burgess suppressed for years

The exclusive Malaysian school where the author taught finally allows his ode to be performed

Deborah Ross: Office workers have the things I yearn for

If you ask me... I yearn to use the post and the telephone and the photocopier for personal reasons.

Base-jumping Austrian to break sound barrier – if he can take off

In a world that has been comprehensively conquered from Pole to Pole, where younger explorers successfully scale our tallest peaks each year, and where satellites have mapped every last square kilometre of our planet, there are few truly outrageous challenges left to overcome.

Halal cosmetics scent the sweet smell of success

Beauty products produced without alcohol or pork are beginning to appeal to women who want Islamic ethics with their eyeliner

Base jumpers hurl themselves off Kuala Lumpur Tower

Leaping off the Kuala Lumpur Tower from more than 1,000 feet off the ground isn't for everyone but for Daniel Witchalls it's pretty much just another day at the office.

Open Jaw: Alan Whicker at 84

Where readers write back

Nathan Robertson: 'I'm going to the Games – it's not ideal but I've seen this before'

I have never had any doubts about going to Delhi for the Commonwealth Games. I've seen things like this happen before. At the Athens Olympics in 2004 venues were still being finished and painted. I remember walls were being put up during the competition.

Reality show concludes hunt for 'ultimate young imam'

An Islamic reality TV show that made its contestants counsel promiscuous teenagers and bury corpses has named a mosque prayer leader as Malaysia's top role model for young Muslims.

Malaysia: Discover Asia's secret shores

Far from the cosmopolitan bustle of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's east coast offers secluded islands, tranquil beaches and dramatic rainforest – all at bargain prices

300 tortoises seized at airport

Tortoises may move slowly, but even a little movement can be a lifesaver. Customs staff at Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur International Airport noticed something stirring in two bags and discovered 301 tortoises hidden amid shredded paper.

Before I Sleep, Old Co-op Building, Brighton Festival

There's a sign at the end of Dreamthinkspeak's new work, a promenade piece in a defunct department store, which implores the departing audience not to tell others about the contents of the show lest they give too much away.

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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
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
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?