News The refurbished residence of Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst in Limburg, Germany

As a concession to belt-tightening, the decision by a sybaritic German bishop to take a budget airline flight to Rome, is looking like too little, too late.

Travel Agenda: Mexico in party mood, New Miami Beach hotel and a Maastricht Christmas makeover


Mexico is in a party mood, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 1910 Revolution. Festivities include fireworks and parades, with a number of spin-off events, including a food festival in Playa del Carmen tomorrow (

Maastricht marijuana is for locals only, rules EU

No drugs please, you're foreigners.

Van Marwijk guided by results in putting an end to Dutch squabbles

They have had tactical innovators like Louis van Gaal and Guus Hiddink. They have given the national team to footballers like Marco van Basten or Frank Rijkaard who displayed an aura, a presence. They all achieved something with Holland but they never took them to a World Cup final in the way that a man who seemed to possess none of these qualities has.

Sexual infection risk from middle-aged 'swingers'

Middle-aged "swingers" are a hidden and significant source of sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), researchers have claimed.

Belgians egged on to keep chickens – but they're not for eating

Hen-rearing craze takes hold after drive to reduce household waste

The Netherlands: Take a peak inside

It may seem unlikely, but the low-lying Netherlands hosts some of the best indoor ski centres in Europe, says Patrick Thorne

Go Dutch, save money: British students can take degrees in English at the University of Maastricht and pay lower fees than at home

Why don't more British students head to the University of Maastricht, where they can take degrees in English and – best of all – pay lower fees than at home? By Lucy Hodges

Man arrested in Germany over killing of British wargame fanatic

On the internet, he was Shade, webmaster of Wars Central, a brilliant strategist who commanded victorious armies. In reality he was a bespectacled young man who grew up in a small provincial town, remembered by his school friends as a shy boy who was fascinated by web designs.

Man questioned over gamer's murder

A man has been questioned in Germany over the murder of a British computer games enthusiast he allegedly met on the internet, police said.

Hansel und Gretel, Glyndebourne Festival, Glyndebourne

In Laurent Pelly's new production of Humperdinck's Hänsel und Gretel, deforestation is already advanced: plastic bags hang from denuded trees, and the ground is strewn with the discarded waste of our overindulgent society.

The Sketch: A walk on the dark side shows even Miliband is stuck in the old politics

My older son takes a polite interest in politics. He's not obsessive about it, but knows who David Miliband is. "Is he running for prime minister?" he asked recently, having seen the fellow on some news clip. What an extraordinary question. I asked what had prompted it. "He's doing the voice," my son said, "and the gestures with his hands."

Peter Oborne: 'I wrote a story saying nothing was going on. My news editor told me a riot had broken out'

My Greatest Mistake: With the political editor of 'The Spectator'

Tanker blast 'was terrorism'

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas