News The photo that the mother of a suicide victim sends along with his ashes to strangers so her thrill-seeking son can fulfill his dream of travelling the world

Hundreds of strangers on Facebook have helped Hallie Twomey with her mission

Leading article: A life lived to the full

The death of the British adventurer, Rob Gauntlett, 21, who died climbing in the French Alps at the weekend with his equally young companion, James Atkinson, has been called a tragedy. The response is understandable, and yet the tragic description does not really fit.

First person: 'I used to be a man'

Kate Craig-Wood, 31

Empathy for the devil: Stephen Daldry on sex scenes, war crimes and Billy

Stephen Daldry might have spent much of the last year worn out by a punishing work schedule, but when we meet in downtown Manhattan shortly before Christmas he is relaxed and refreshed. The evening before our interview, for the first time in a long while, he slept for eight hours. The theatre and film director spent 2008 combining directing Billy Elliot on Broadway with making his third film, The Reader.

Ruck and Maul: England have a mountain to climb if they want to steal the silverware

Silversmiths are not immune to the chill winds of recession, but one market is providing them with a winter warmer. Rugby's cupboard is full to overflowing. Yesterday England and New Zealand played for the Hillary Shield, which was presented to the winners by Lady June Hillary, widow of Sir Edmund. It's a handsome silver plate with Edmund's face in the middle, behind which is etched an image of Mount Everest. In 100 years' time it will probably be as famous as the Calcutta Cup, the magnificent trophy over which English and Scottish blood is spilled. Pride of place in the cabinet goes to the Webb Ellis Cup, which is held by the world champions, and the All Blacks and the Wallabies go bonkers over the Bledisloe Cup. Wales and South Africa now play for the Prince William Cup; the Springboks and the Wallabies go for the Mandela Challenge Plate; and England and Ireland vie for the Millennium Trophy. As for Wales and Australia, they compete for the James Bevan Trophy (named after the first captain of Wales, who happened to be born in Australia), while the English and the Aussies turn up the heat for the Cook Cup. Forgetting the Triple Crown, Scotland and Ireland go head to head for the Centenary Quaich, and when the Lions play the Wallabies they do so for the Tom Richards Cup. For the what? Get a grip. Tom was the man who played for both the Lions and Australia. There is more. Romania and Georgia bust a gut for the Antim Cup, named after an 18th-century bishop of Bucharest, and Italy and France vie for the Garibaldi Trophy, which just about takes the biscuit. The Hillary Shield, by the way, was crafted by the Englishman Thomas Silver. Was this man born with a silver spoon in his mouth? All that remains now is for Nepal to run with the ball. Mr Silver could set about designing the Sherpa Tenzing Bowl.

Crime rate sky high at the top of the world

Police presence bolstered to tackle prostitution, theft and gambling on Everest

England to play New Zealand for Hillary trophy

A new rugby trophy contested by England and the All Blacks will honour the late Sir Edmund Hillary.

The perfect wave: Surfers' holy grail at risk

It's British surfing's greatest ride – and best-kept secret. Now the MoD is restricting public access to the beach where it breaks. Emily Dugan reports

Inside Beijing: Edwards fights for future after Gavin blow

It has not been the best of weeks for boxing coach Terry Edwards. An investigation into the loss from his squad of leading man Frankie Gavin, in whom £75,000 has been invested this year, because of weight problems puts further pressure on the former cabbie who, despite his successes with his fighters over the past two years, is fighting for his job. Factions within the Amateur Boxing Association want him replaced by a younger man in the build-up to 2012. But Edwards has powerful allies in UK Sport, plus the British Olympic Association chief, Colin Moynihan, and the boxers themselves, some of whom say they will turn pro if he goes. "If Terry stays, I stay," Bradley Saunders said. Gavin is now certain to join the paid ranks, where he will be more comfortable at light-welterweight. Even though the Birmingham southpaw lacks the fizz of Amir Khan, he will command big money. A gold medal here would have seen his worth rocket, but his world title is a valuable bargaining chip among leading promoters, with Frank Warren tipped to make him a stablemate of his one-time spar-mate Khan.

A mountain of trash: China closes Everest for clean-up

Mount Everest, where the air is thin and climbing to the summit is a task to which few are equal, is a terrible place to organise a clean-up operation. But now China is planning to restrict access by climbers to the summit of what they call Mount Qomolangma to allow environmental teams to carry out a huge clean-up of the world's highest rubbish dump.

The great Olympian dame has Mount Everest to climb

It has taken all of 28 years but time, it seems, is finally starting to catch up with the grand dame of the sprint world. It was in Moscow in July 1980 that Merlene Ottey first showed her fleetness of foot on the Olympic stage as a fresh-faced 20-year-old running for her native Jamaica. She won a bronze medal in the 200m, behind Barbel Wockel of East Germany and Natalya Bochina of the Soviet Union. At every Olympic Games since then, she has been a fixture in the fast lane, clocking up a record seven appearances and gathering a record eight medals along the way.

Bumblebees set new insect record for high-altitude flying

Scientists reveal remarkable ability of mountain-dwelling bumblebees to fly in air so thin it would kill a human

Chinese agree to Tibet talks with Dalai Lama's envoys

International pressure ahead of the Olympic Games has forced a reluctant Beijing back to the negotiating table

Leading article: Saving face

It sounds like the height of cruelty – to climbers. For ten days, from 1 May onwards, mountaineers will be banned from scaling the face of Mount Everest either from the Chinese side – or, it now appears, from the Nepalese side.

China bans climbers from Everest to keep Tibet protests from torch run

China is denying mountaineers permission to climb its side of Mount Everest this spring, a move that reflects government concerns that Tibet activists may try to disrupt plans to carry the Olympic torch up the world's tallest peak.

Miles Kington: Revealed... the true peak of Sir Edmund Hillary's career</I>

'As an Australian myself, I was taken aback to find he had taught the Sherpas insulting remarks about Aussie sportsmanship in their own language'
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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
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine