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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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project