Travel Vibrant Guangzhou

Adjust your body clock and explore an exciting city en route, says Simon Calder

Orange pledges free broadband for bigger spenders

Orange pledged to give its high-spending mobile phone customers free broadband access yesterday, while its smaller rival Plusnet cut prices to under £10 a month as competition in the UK's broadband market intensified.

Brian Viner: Country Life

The only penfriend I ever had was a boy from Yorkshire. My primary school in Southport had a letter-writing scheme going with his school in Halifax, and I can still remember the excitement with which I opened my first trans-Pennine missive, swiftly followed by the disappointment of discovering that he loved motorbikes and hated football. I mistrusted motorbikes (our 21-year-old next-door neighbour had been killed on one) and adored football. After one letter each, our penfriend-ship fizzled out.

Russell Latapy: Kicking the losing habit

Trinidad & Tobago's Russell Latapy, who is known as the little magician, has all the smoke and mirrors to banish bad memories and surprise England when they meet at the World Cup

Boyd Tonkin: A Week in Books

Tirelessly courteous, the small, dapper man kept on greeting, smiling and pressing the flesh until late in the evening. Around him buzzed hangers-on, as florid tapestries and heavy marble spoke of an older kind of hierarchy. When he talked, as gracious as the "royalty" he has become, you felt the vast burden of his name and fame. "Wherever Pelé goes, I carry the name of my country. I never, ever want to disappoint my people."

Nasser Hussain: My Life In Travel

'My family all caught salmonella at a hotel in Sri Lanka'

Racing: Golam and Turner, apprentice sorcerers

Jamie Spencer seals the jockeys' championship but two young riders show immense promise

Pain for Jonny, anguish for Andy

The wounded hero: Talisman's endless travails in the hitting zone bring nothing but headaches for the new coach

Heaven on a stick

When Deborah Ross was asked if she wanted to take her family to Mauritius under the auspices of work, she jumped at the chance. 'God's model of paradise' proved to have everything she expected from a tropical jewel, and a lot more besides...

Leading Article: Ministers should not tackle the business of football

AS THIS century closes, football is at the pinnacle of popular culture in Britain. From Manchester United fans in Mauritius, anxiously following David Beckham's exploits, to Arsenal victories being cheered in bars in Japan, Britain - or rather England - has finally got itself a world brand to rival the ageing escutcheon of the Royal Family. But how has this glory come to be?
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor