Extras
 

From Furbys to robotic puppies, there are lots of fun, innovative and educational toys in the shops this year. Kate Hilpern picks the ones the kids (and big kids) will love

David Cameron speaks with Angela Merkel at the Meseberg government guest house yesterday

David Cameron in Germany: Prime Minister and Angela Merkel call for urgent action to make EU 'competitive and flexible'

Prime Minister discussed the need for reforms to the single market at the German Chancellor’s guest residence at Schloss Meseberg

Travel Agenda

From Sebastiao Salgado to Scotland's newest castle hotel

The racist menace? Muslims declare victory in fight over ‘anti-Islamic’ Lego

Danish toy giant says production of ‘Jabba’s Palace’ building set was always slated to cease at the end of 2013

Review: Lego City Undercover

Chase McCain's adventure is akin to GTA for kids, as the knowingly clichéd action cop takes to the open world streets as he looks to throw his arch nemesis Rex Fury back behind bars.

A Muslim 'Measure for Measure'? That's one updated version of Shakespeare I'd love to see

Plus: Absurd person singular in Mohsin Hamid's new novel and "feel-good" isn't good enough for Parks and Recreation

Vending machine at the Facebook offices

Gadget-filled vending machines: Want a new keyboard, get the correct change

Vending machines ought to follow high street shops on the conveyor belt of death that is online retail. Yet a growing fondness for anonymous shopping (see also supermarket checkout bots) is giving new life to old tech.

International Women's Day: The week we found out about ‘Keep Calm and Rape A Lot’ t-shirts

Sometimes I find people arguing against the No More Page 3 campaign entertaining, but some things just aren't funny

The 10 Best creative toys

From making snow globes to casting magical shadows on the bedroom wall, here are toys to keep your little ones amused.

Luka Apps with his Jay ZX toys

Consumer affairs: Putting the (n)ice into customer service

As a piece of public relations, it was pretty deft. Seven-year-old Luka Apps from Highworth in Wiltshire had written to Lego's head office after losing his Jay ZX figurine during a post-Christmas shopping trip. "Daddy said to send you an email to see if you will send me another one," he wrote. "I promise I won't take him to the shop again if you can."

The people of Newtown face Christmas after the tragedy

In Newtown, tragedy tinges holiday tradition

The night Andrei Nikitchyuk came home after 20 young students had been killed at his son's school, he pulled out the family's Christmas tree.

A cuddly victory: Furbies push iPad down the Dear Santa list

A talking cuddly electronic pet is the toy most wanted by children this Christmas, judging by the letters posted to Santa Claus.

Black Ops 2 secures all formats top spot for fourth week

Bad week for Nintendo sees sales of Wii U titles drop and Paper Mario: Sticker Star barely register in 40th.

No room for Nintendo Land, Mario Bros. U or ZombiU in Black Ops 2 dominated chart

The week's all formats games chart sees bespoke Wii U games miss out on the top 10

The best Christmas gifts for the tyke

Main image: Spiderman toy, £19.69, and magnetic frame set, £12, both John Lewis

The 10 Best remote-control toys

Here are the hi-tech playthings you’ll be filling stockings up with this Christmas. Just watch your ankles...

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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 1 May 2015
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before