Venice tests the water with new tourist tax

Visitors to Venice will find an unexpected charge on their hotel bills from tonight as the city becomes the latest destination to launch a tourist tax.

Sarah Sands: Lost and found in translation

Knowledge is power – especially when it comes to languages

Wealthy Italians splash out on private islands

Italy's rich are taking the national obsession with private beaches to a new level by snapping up their own islands as rising seas and environmental damage spoil some of the trendiest bathing spots in the country.

Landfalls, By Tim Mackintosh-Smith

From a long-term Arabist (TMS lives in Yemen), this third volume of a trilogy pursuing the 14th century traveller Ibn Battutah is much less daunting than it sounds. TMS may have gone native but his humour is undilutedly Anglo.

Bryan Robson quits Thailand role

Former Manchester United and England captain Bryan Robson has resigned as Thailand's national coach, the country's soccer president said on Wednesday.

Cable & Wireless hit by downturn in its Caribbean arm

Cable & Wireless Communications shocked investors yesterday by warning it expected a further downturn in earnings from its Caribbean arm.

Gold prices surge again to another record high

Gold prices rose to a fresh record for the second consecutive session yesterday, with the cost of an ounce climbing to as much as $1,461.91, up $5 from the highs seen on Tuesday.

Phil Spencer: 'I'm being myself on TV. No hamming'

Kirstie and Phil. No need for formal introductions surely. It's like Ant and Dec, Jamie and Nigella – first-name terms will suffice. The Honourable Kirstie Allsopp and Mr Philip Spencer have been property TV's dream double-act, with Channel 4's Location, Location, Location and Relocation, Relocation, since 2001. But while Kirstie has given a whole succession of fearless interviews over the years, on everything from breastfeeding in front of the telly and her mild dyslexia to advising the Conservative Party on housing issues, Phil has kept a discreet veil drawn over his private life.

My Life In Travel: Marcus Brigstocke, comedian

'Huge parrotfish were swimming beneath us'

My Life In Travel: Richard Herring, comedian, writer and broadcaster

'I have learnt that travel broadens the waist'

May: Tall ships on the Solent; oysters in Sweden

Where to go, what to do in 2011
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world cup 2014
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Lionel Messi and Thomas Muller have shone brightest for Argentina and Germany respectively on their way to the World Cup final
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Brazilian fans watch the match for third place between Brazil and Netherlands
Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: Dutch pile on the misery in third place playoff
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Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
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Life and Style
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Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?