Arts and Entertainment

Echo of a friendship for a girl at war

Falmouth Beach Hotel in Cornwall destroyed by 'massive' fire

A Cornwall seafront hotel was destroyed today by a severe fire.

York pub-goers won't complain too much at their inability to leave their local

Flood warnings as Britain is battered by high winds and heavy rain

High winds and driving rain have continued to batter Britain with the south suffering the worst of the April washout today.

Flash flood fears in drought-hit areas

Much of England and Wales will get a further soaking today, with strong winds and heavy downpours expected to hit tonight.

Rules the wave: Cornwall hosts surfing championships

Countryfile: Catch a wave and celebrate 50 years of British surfing

Cornwall blazes a new tourist trail this weekend with the launch of Heartlands (01209 722322; heartlandscornwall.com; admission free).

Being beside the seaside can make us feel better, says new study

Psychological benefits may be the reason why so many people like to be beside the seaside.

Blinded mother Tina Nash describes her loss

A mother-of-two whose boyfriend throttled her unconscious and gouged out her eyes said today he "robbed me of one of the most precious things in life".

Leading article: Better to maintain the mystery of Springfield

And so the mystery is solved. After 20-plus years and more than 500 episodes, the creator of The Simpsons has finally cracked and admitted that it was Springfield, Oregon, all along. Since the very beginning, fans have speculated as to which of the 34 US towns that bear the name – not to mention the one in Essex – could claim to be "the real Springfield", home of the world's most famous yellow family. Now they know.

The 10 Best running events

Not quite up to this month’s London Marathon? Try one of the shorter – or sillier – races in our selection

Britain set for April showers and strong winds over the Easter holiday

Britain is braced for traditional April showers over the Easter holiday as rain and strong winds are predicted.

Homes evacuated after Falmouth oil tank fire

A blaze tackled by around 100 firefighters that spread across five terraced houses is believed to have started in a domestic heating oil tank.

Out of touch: Osborne's granny tax

Out of touch. Out of control: The Tories in turmoil

The Conservatives' smooth PR mask slipped as scandal and silliness reigned

Letters: Spooked into a national fuel panic

What is happening to our country? All it takes to create mayhem is the threat of a fuel distribution strike, and you have panic buying, empty fuel stations, brawling at forecourts and harassment of fuel station staff. The strike hasn't even started!

Traveller's guide: Active family holidays

The landscape for active family holidays is a truly adventurous and wild place, a far cry from the fly-and-flop options that once characterised the average family fortnight abroad. Exploring the countryside, learning a new skill, bonding over an exciting new activity: whatever your goal, today's family trips are all about engaging your tribe.

Travel Agenda: Palazzo Margherita; Cornwall; Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art; Berlin Biennale; Amsterdam

Tomorrow: Check into Francis Ford Coppola's latest hotel, Palazzo Margherita which has just opened in Italy. The film director and hotelier – who has retreats in Belize, Guatemala Argentina and the US – promises "frescos on its ceilings ... and palatial rooms" in his first European hotel (palazzomargherita.com).

A Perfectly Good Man, By Patrick Gale

It shouldn't happen to a ... village priest

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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 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own