Travel Passengers dine in the restaurant car of the Red Arrow to St Petersburg

For 150 years the railway line between Moscow and St Petersburg ran as straight as an arrow for 403 miles. Straight, but for one big bend near Novgorod. The story goes that Tsar Nicholas was so fed up of officials dithering over the route that he plonked a ruler on the map and drew a straight line between the two cities, accidentally drawing around his finger in the process. Too terrified to point out his error, the builders constructed the railway with the Tsar's bump in place.

Jessica Ennis in action at the Olympic Stadium

Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis to return to Olympic Stadium as it hosts the British Athletics London Grand Prix

Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis will be back in the Olympic Stadium, on the anniversary of the Olympics Opening Ceremony, which is to host a Diamond League Athletics Grand Prix.

Sergei Magnitsky: The Russian lawyer, who uncovered the fraud, died in prison in 2009

Lithuanian prosecutors open investigation into multi-million dollar tax fraud by Russian organised crime group

Prosecutors in Lithuania have opened an investigation into a multi-million dollar tax fraud carried out by a Russian organised crime group which used the Baltic nation’s banks to launder some of their money.

Mo Farah is playing catch-up after taking an extended post-Olympics break: 'I am not in terrible shape but I am behind my training partner'

I'm playing catch-Rupp in training, admits Mo Farah

Mo Farah admits he is playing catch-up after taking an extended post-Olympics break. "I am not in terrible shape but I am behind my training partner – a month and bit behind him," the 5,000 metres and 10,000m gold medal winner confessed.

Aslan Usoyan survived an attempt on his life in 2010; a sniper’s bullet killed him

The death of Moscow's Don: Aslan Usoyan gunned down outside his favourite restaurant

Shooting of crime boss has stoked fears of gangland reprisals

Visas – an expensive and time-consuming necessity for a trip to Moscow

Q. On a whim I booked two cheap flights to Moscow in June for me and my 11-year-old daughter. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but since booking I have looked into obtaining visas and it seems like a minefield of red tape. Can you help? Matt Denby, West Yorkshire

Video emerges capturing moment car is hit by wheel of crashing Russian jet in accident that killed four people

Investigators are examining flight recorders and other evidence to try to determine the cause of a plane crash in Moscow that left four people dead

Sergei Magnitsky’s mother, Nataliya Magnitskaya, grieves for her son in 2009

Prosecutors drop charges in Magnitsky killing to leave family at square one

Relatives fear they will never know the truth about anti-corruption lawyer's death in police custody

Gennady Fedosov: Diplomat who promoted friendship with the West

Many people in the arts, commercial, political and sporting life of London will not have forgotten the witty, charming and erudite Gennady Fedosov, who was the Soviet Union’s minister for cultural Affairs in the Soviet Embassy in London. During a fraught period of the relationship between Britain and Russia, Fedosov was a beacon of friendship and understanding.

The NBC television crew were held by a militia group loyal to President Assad

Kidnapped journalists escape during firefight in Syria

Richard Engel, the chief foreign correspondent for the US network NBC, told yesterday how he and his television crew were kidnapped for five days by Syrian pro-regime gunmen who subjected them to mock executions and kept them bound and blindfolded.

Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov is said to have arranged the killing of Anna Politkovskaya at her Moscow flat

Murdered Russian journalist's son seeks 'open trial' of former policeman

The family of a murdered journalist expressed cynicism as the trial of a former police officer implicated in her killing began in Moscow.

Postcard from... Delhi

Spend two days in Delhi, India's capital and the second biggest city in the country, and your snot will be black.

Postcard from... Moscow

In recent decades, many cities have made the transition from industrial to post-industrial, with power stations and factories converted into loft accommodation or cultural centres. Moscow is unique in the number of industrial zones that remain within the city – there are 209 functioning industrial areas inside the city bounds, some of which are right in the centre.

Last count: Cubans at a Mayan ritual last week

Doomsayers await the end of the world – on 21/12/12

But governments try to reassure their citizens not to panic

Sergei Magnitsky, the lawyer
who died in a Russian jail
after investigating fraud

Magnitsky affair row grows as Russia threatens to reveal banned US officials

Moscow retaliates to new US law with its own blacklist of Americans accused of rights abuses

Key players in the Magnitsky case

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona from £629pp
Dubrovnik
Vietnam
Bruges
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 12 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas