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.

Leap of faith: Jessica Ennis-Hill continues her comeback from injury at the Anniversary Games in London

Jessica Ennis-Hill will 'return stronger' predicts Paula Radcliffe

The heptathlete has been ruled out of the World Championships in Moscow

Jessica Ennis-Hill

World Championships: Jessica Ennis-Hill 'gutted' after being ruled out of trip to Moscow

The Olympic champion ruled out due to Achilles injury

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's father considers FBI request for him to visit son in Moscow

Lonnie Snowden has told Russian TV that he needs to know what the FBI want him to do before flying out to see his son

Ennis-Hill competing in the long jump at last weekend's Anniversary Games

World Championships: Jessica Ennis-Hill's hopes lifted by Tatyana Chernova's withdrawal

Jessica Ennis-Hill's chances of winning heptathlon gold at the World Championships have been boosted by the defending champion, Tatyana Chernova, pulling out.

<p>Serpico, 1973</p>
<p>Known for playing characters on both sides of the law, Pacino's next big role was real-life police whistle-blower, Frank Serpico</p>

What makes a whistleblower? Bradley Manning follows in an illustrious tradition of truth-tellers

I spoke to five famous whistleblowers to learn what made them do it

Greg Rutherford added to British squad for World Championships in Moscow

The Olympic long jump champion must still prove his fitness

Jessica Ennis-Hill competes in the hurdles

Jessica Ennis-Hill faces agonising race against time to be fit for World Championships

Rutherford set to decide today if he will compete in Moscow but Farah reigns supreme

Leap of faith: Jessica Ennis-Hill continues her comeback from injury at the Anniversary Games in London

Battling Jessica Ennis-Hill is playing a waiting game

No repeat of Super Saturday for heptathlete, who must decide whether to go to Moscow

2013 Anniversary Games: Golden summer memories come crowding back at the Olympic Stadium

They started filing happily into their seats not long after four o'clock,  having made it past the clowns cavorting at the entrance gates – positioned perhaps in case anyone should be seen daring not to smile – and were still there six hours later, possibly wearied by the endless Britpop pumped around the stadium but still revelling in what was.

Jessica Ennis-Hill ready to hurdle into the unknown

Gold medallist’s return to scene of her greatest triumph is hampered by nagging Achilles injury

Edward Snowden claims he will face torture or the death penalty should he return to the US

US tells Russia: 'We won't torture Edward Snowden if he is extradited home'

Attorney General Eric Holder says the NSA whistleblower's claims of what he would face should he return to America are 'entirely without merit'

Jessica Ennis-Hill

Anniversary Games: Jessica Ennis-Hill set to take part at Olympic Stadium

The Olympic heptathlon winner returned to action earlier this week

Sergei Magnitsky died in custody after helping to expose a large tax scam

Russian police officer denies Kremlin is funding Sergei Magnitsky libel case in London

Lieutenant Colonel Pavel Karpov is suing British businessman William Browder for substantial damages

Jessica Ennis-Hill

Jessica Ennis-Hill to make comeback with low-key return in Loughborough

Heptathlete will take part in Loughborough European Athletics Permit meeting tonight

David Rudisha avenged defeat by Mohammad Aman in 2012

David Rudisha out until next year with knee injury

Olympic 800m champion and world record-holder David Rudisha will miss the remainder of the season and is unlikely to race again until at least March, the Kenyan athlete’s coach has said.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
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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
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Philippa Perry interview

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