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Tests have confirmed 20 people died after contracting the disease on the island

Shark meat kills 27

Twenty-seven people died and 340 were critically ill after eating cheap shark meat in Madagascar, Reuter reports from Antananarivo. Doctors said the sharks had fed on poisonous algae.

Nod for PM

Madagascar's parliament has confirmed the election of Francisque Ravony as prime minister, Reuter reports from Antananarivo.

Fashion: That's summer wrapped up: This may not be Java, and OK, it's not that hot, but feeling exotic is simple in a sarong, says Marion Hume

THE sarong spells summer. At the slightest hint of sun, we reach for the one exotic garment that has become an integral part of the British wardrobe. Meaning 'sheath' in Malay, the sarong was originally a long strip of fabric worn tucked around the waist - exactly how it is worn here.

Strange companions await their fate at Olympia's art and antiques fair

Two of the more curious items at the Fine Art and Antiques Fair at Olympia, London. The stuffed head of 'Colonel Baden', a great dane given honorary rank as a regimental mascot (pounds 3,600), shares a table with an egg of the extinct elephant bird of Madagascar - one of only three uncracked examples in the world (pounds 75,000). The fair, with more than a million antiques, opens today until 13 June.

FOOD / From the forest floor to the ends of the earth, all year round: Thanks to the obsessive dedication of Jean-Claude Monteil, wild mushrooms are never out of season, writes Joanna Blythman

SOMETHING suspicious is going on in the mushroom trade. Ask regular diners in smart restaurants, or discerning shoppers who frequent specialist food shops: fresh wild mushrooms - once a fleeting pleasure in the peak season around October - are on offer throughout the year.

Madagascar opposition heads for election victory

ANTANANARIVO (Reuter) - The leader of the opposition, Albert Zafy, took an unbeatable lead yesterday in Madagascar's presidential election, ending 17 years of virtual dictatorship by the one- time socialist, Didier Ratsiraka.

Madagascar poll position

Antananarivo (Reuter) - Albert Zafy, who is leading in Madagascar's presidential poll, said he expected his opponent, Didier Ratsiraka, to go quietly. He did not think Mr Ratsiraka would mount a rearguard action to extend his 17 years in power.

A plea for 25,000 plants on Death Row: Flowers all over the world are going to disappear, unless we act fast. Anna Pavord appeals for help

YOU CAN scarcely think of a whale now without mentally adding the words 'Save the' in front of it. Pandas and gorillas are equally potent symbols of the need for conservation in the animal world. But what about saving the conradina, or the ramosmania or the nesocodon - or any other of the 25,000 plants currently threatened with extinction?

Opposition leading in Madagascar election

(First Edition)

Full marks for not keeping score

HAVE you noticed that television and radio quiz shows actually evolve? Clive Anderson, for instance, has been an innovative quizmaster and chat-show host, and I am not just thinking of the way in which he seems to enjoy being more nervous and twitchy than his guests. (Is he the only host who starts his show at the end of a sentence? 'Yes, well . . . anyway, right . . .')

Travel: To Nosy Be, stranger than paradise: Perfumed ylang-ylang, palm-fringed beaches, revolutionary politics: Jane Walker and her family found all these in Madagascar

'There's been a coup in the capital this morning,' said a grinning Jean, our guide for a planned day-trip to the remote Baie des Dunes, outside Madagascar's northern port of Diego Suarez. The laughter echoed all around us. Trying not to look too grim-faced, I inquired whether this should be regarded as serious news. 'Oh no, don't worry. This kind of thing happens all the time in Madagascar.'

ETCETERA / How We Met: 56. Gerald Durrell and Lee McGeorge Durrell

Author, animal-lover and zookeeper, Gerald Durrell, 67, was born in India, the son of a civil engineer. Much of his childhood was spent on Corfu, which inspired the hilarious 'My Family and Other Animals'. His latest book, 'The Aye-aye and I', is about a rescue expedition to capture the legendary black creature with huge eyes and slender fingers that lives only in Madagascar. His American wife Lee McGeorge Durrell, 43, is leading a campaign to save the world's rarest tortoise, the ploughshare, also from Madagascar. The couple live in Jersey and the South of France.

Madagascar gunmen fail in coup attempt

Antananarivo (Reuter) - Four members of an armed opposition group in Madagascar were captured after briefly taking over the state-run radio station yesterday and declaring a coup. The group broadcast a statement announcing the dissolution of the government and cancellation of a constitutional referendum next month.

OLYMPICS / Barcelona 1992: Madagascar's finest hour: Tennis

IT could have been any tennis tournament anywhere in the world. Boris Becker was on Centre Court, Jim Courier was due on next on Court One. Then two teenage girls emerged shyly from out of the Val d'Hebron centre. They looked like autograph hunters; instead they were reminders of why the Olympic flame was burning close by.
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

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It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

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If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

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New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

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From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
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Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
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Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

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Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

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More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

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Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

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Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine