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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The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?