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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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
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
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
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)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back