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.

Blaze at psychiatric hospital near Moscow leaves 38 dead

A fire at a psychiatric hospital outside Moscow killed 38 people early this morning, many of them patients who burned to death while under heavy sedation.

Anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny: Fraud case is ‘political revenge’

The opposition leader Alexei Navalny gave a grand-standing speech in his opening remarks to the provincial court trying him on embezzlement charges. Mr Navalny, an anti-corruption blogger who led street protests against President Vladimir Putin, dismissed the case as “political revenge”.

Boston Marathon bombing: Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have met Dagestan rebels

As US investigators attempt to piece together the motivations and allegiances that led Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to bomb the Boston Marathon, attention is turning to the six-month stint that Tamerlan spent in southern Russia in early 2012. He stayed with his father in Makhachkala, capital of Dagestan, the mountainous republic in southern Russia that borders the family’s ancestral homeland, Chechnya.

Ennis: 'I will never forget the noise'

Jessica Ennis leads golden return to Olympic Stadium for Anniversary Games

Gold medal winners from 'Super Saturday' will all be in action

Postcard from... Moscow

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

US risks angering Russia by publishing blacklist

Diplomatic friction as Washington names Russian officials banned over Magnitsky affair

Chelsea player Ryan Bertrand
Ashley Cole

Rafael Benitez 'feeling good' over injuries to Gary Cahill and Ashley Cole

Pair expected to miss Europa League tie on Thursday

Former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler

Mark Knopfler cancels Russian gigs over country's 'human rights crackdown'

Mark Knopfler has cancelled two shows in Russia in protest over what he says is a crackdown on human rights groups in the country.

A graffiti with a sign reading

'Russian Banksy' Pasha P183 dies aged 29

A prominent Russian graffiti artist who hid his identity behind the tag Pasha P183 and has been compared to Britain's Banksy has died aged just 29.

Pietro Mennea pictured in 1978

Former 200-metre world record holder Pietro Mennea dies

The Italian held the record for 17 years

Rafael Benitez takes a Chelsea training session

Rubin Kazan switch Europa League tie against Chelsea to Moscow

The move will make the tie closer to London

Russia drops inquiry into death of Sergei Magnitsky

Investigators have dropped an inquiry  into the death in jail of Sergei Magnitsky, stating that the whistleblowing lawyer’s agonising death, which became an international scandal, was not the result of malpractice.

Wealthy Russian expats in Cyprus face added pressure from home

One thing wealthy Russians will have learned this weekend is that when a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That is now certainly the case for those who have invested heavily in Cyprus, where the 10,000-strong Russian community is thought to have as much as €35bn in deposit accounts.

Usain Bolt got the better of Yohan Blake over both 100 and 200 metres in London

Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake back together in Jamaica relay team

Usain Bolt will run in the same 4 x 100m relay team as Yohan Blake at the Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava in the Czech Republic on 27 June.

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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
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue