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Letter from the Literary editor: The Transformative Power of Books

Many of us will have booked our holidays by now and bought the sun-cream too. But what to read under the palm tree or on the beach or the staycation sofa?

Book review: Completion by Tim Walker

Given our national obsession with property prices, Tim Walker’s novel is bound to hit a nerve. His fictional couple, the Manvilles, bought their large north London home at a knock-down price in the 1990s, and it became the key to two aspects of their family life. Jerry, a successful advertising executive, undertook all the original plumbing, electrical and redecoration work; Pen devised a series of popular children’s books, The House on the Hill, whose “cheeky brat with the ridiculous schemes” is modelled on, and named after, her real-life son Conrad: 15 years on, they have done a loft conversion, and divorced.

Time to influence the debate on Europe

The EU divides opinion but whatever your views it is important to have your say — through voting in the May election and joining in the Citizens’ Dialogue events around Europe

Amanda Knox on Good Morning America

Meredith Kercher murder: Amanda Knox breaks down in first live interview after second guilty verdict, saying: 'It hit me like a train'

From Seattle to the Austrian border, the fallout from the latest verdict on Meredith Kercher’s murder has been dramatic

Stephanie Kercher (L) and Lyle Kercher, the sister and brother of murdered British student Meredith Kercher, attend a news conference in Florence

Meredith Kercher sister: Family still on 'journey for truth' after Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito found guilty of murder

Speaking after the verdict, Stephanie Kercher conceded the family may never know what truly happened on the evening of Meredith’s death

Dmytro Bulatov,a Ukrainian opposition activist, says he was kidnapped and tortured

Ukraine activist Dmytro Bulatov 'kidnapped, tortured and left to die'

He led AutoMaidan protest movement that organised motorcades outside the houses of politicians and oligarchs

Shrien Dewani is accused of killing his bride Anni on their honeymoon in South Africa

Honeymoon murder suspect Shrien Dewani loses High Court move to block extradition

Shrien Dewani, who is accused of organising the murder of his wife Anni, has lost a High Court bid to block his extradition to South Africa until he is fit to stand trial.

The Prime Minister's authority was challenged by his own backbenchers as they demanded a tougher line on deporting foreign criminals from Britain

David Cameron beats Conservative Immigration Bill rebellion – with the help of the Opposition

More than 80 backbenchers had demanded a tougher line on deporting foreign criminals from Britain

Backbench Conservatives MPs have been criticised for supporting a proposed ban on HIV positive immigrants entering Britain

Ban on HIV positive immigrants entering the UK proposed for Immigration Bill by Tory MPs

HIV and AIDs campaigners have called the amendment "draconian"

First drone-assisted arrest in America began with a dispute over six cows

The drones were used to locate suspects after an armed stand-off developed

ASOS named 'company of the decade' at Quoted Company Awards

Online fashion giant Asos was declared “company of the decade” at the Grant Thornton-sponsored Quoted Company Awards.

‘We want to destroy’: Entire neighbourhoods demolished by Syrian army

Shocking satellite images show devastation in districts that back opposition to President Assad

Nick Clegg opposes smoking ban in cars with children

Nick Clegg opposes smoking ban in cars with children

Deputy PM said the ban would not be enforceable in practice

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych

Ukraine on the brink as President Viktor Yanukovych takes sick leave amid calls for resignation

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych went on sick leave today after a bruising session of parliament, leaving a political vacuum in a country destabilised by anti-government protests and threatened with bankruptcy.

UK border control at Heathrow Airport

Immigration bill: UK terror suspects could be stripped of their citizenship

Plans by Theresa May could see terror suspects faced with being made stateless

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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
Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)