The Elephant's Journey, By José Saramago (trs Margaret Jull Costa)

A gift that has kept on giving

Daniel Howden: Too little too late: the family dynasties who have failed Greece's youth

Greece's political elite is a pond that refuses to be flushed. Two clans have dominated the scene since the fall of the dictatorship: the Papandreou and Karamanlis families and their socialist and conservative tribes who have played out largely fake wars while pursuing similar policies.

Portuguese voters braced for austerity measures as Socialists admit defeat

Portugal's centre-right Social Democrats (PSD) won yesterday's general election, booting out Prime Minister Jose Socrates' Socialists after they sought a €78bn (£70bn) bailout that will bring deep austerity.

Portugal votes for new government under bailout shadow

The Portuguese went to the polls on Sunday to elect a government which will lead the nation through a period of deep austerity and recession after it received a €78-billion bailout from the European Union and IMF.

Officials revise debt figure again

Portugal has for a second time revised upward the debt-stressed country's budget deficit last year, releasing official figures that said it was 9.1 per cent of gross domestic product instead of the previously announced 8.6 per cent.

Eu bail-out crisis talks called

European finance ministers are gathering for an emergency meeting on the Portuguese debt crisis, amid fears that British taxpayers may have to find more than £4 billion as part of a rescue package.

Rating cut triggers fresh spike in Portugal's borrowing costs

Another cut in Portugal's credit rating has sent the yields on the country's bonds to their highest level since the euro's launch last night.

Portugal and Ireland fail to restore confidence

Portugal and Ireland were yesterday apparently locked in an unedifying and reluctant race towards bankruptcy, with renewed market pressures on both troubled economies building. The only good news to be extracted for the eurozone is that markets seem willing to allow Spain the benefit of the doubt; the usual Iberian contagion effect appears to have been contained, at least for now.

It's... Monty Python's flying opera house

Writing a libretto for a telephone, a remote control and two parking meters was a hoot – until I realised that I actually had to direct the opera, writes ex-Python Terry Jones

How hostels got hip

Lowcost used to mean low comfort. But now even the cheapest rooms can be seriously chic – and you don’t have to be a backpacker to see the attraction. Lucy Gillmore checks in

Captain Vitor Alves: Soldier who played a crucial role in Portugal's 'Carnation Revolution'

Captain Vítor Alves was one of the key figures of the April 1974 Carnation Revolution in Portugal, which brought an end to the longest-standing authoritarian regime of 20th-century Western Europe, and which – after several turbulent years – saw a fully fledged democracy emerge.

Casino jackpot that has a family at odds

The 'King of Macau' is ceding control of his vast gambling empire – so who will replace him? Clifford Coonan on a dynastic battle

Relief as Lisbon's bonds attract strong demand

Europe avoided an escalation in its sovereign debt woes last night after the year's first bond sale by one of the Continent's most indebted economies was judged a success.

Leading article: Europe's leaders have got their prescriptions wrong

The fact is that investors are now behaving out of fear rather than greed
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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
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee