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Leading article: Mr Prescott should not be made a scapegoat for a flawed transport policy

JOHN PRESCOTT is not the sort of man to duck out of a fight, but cutting short an official visit and flying 4,000 miles back from India just to be insulted by John Redwood takes political pugnacity to new heights. Mr Prescott, in truth, doesn't have too much to fear from his Conservative critics, given their record in office on Transport. No, Mr Prescott has a much more intractable problem, which is that he is rapidly becoming the scapegoat for the Government's failure in transport policy and is descending into the dangerous sort of political joke territory that was last occupied by the unlamented Norman Lamont.

Words: black, adj.

"A WORD of difficult history." So the OED notes of black. As a synonym for doom-laden, will it remain linked with Norman Lamont's Black Wednesday (1992) or will popular memory revert shudderingly to the events of Black Monday (1987) or even those of Black Thursday and the Crash.

Friends in high places

BOTH sides of the Carlton/ United News & Media merger boast formidable political firepower, writes Sonia Purnell.

The Archer Affair: Car dealer Norris kept his political engine running in case of emergency

AS A maverick politician with a colourful private life, Steven Norris may appear at first sight to be the last person the Tories should choose to replace Lord Archer of Weston-Super-Mare as mayoral candidate.

`I am a Hagueite', preacher Michael tells twin set and pearls revivalist meeting

HE WAS always going to be the main attraction, and for the Tory faithful of Kensington and Chelsea it was worth the wait. When he did appear to be anointed as the candidate for this blue-chip Tory constituency, Michael Portillo played all the right notes.

John Humphrys floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee

`It is thought that you cannot wait to get out of the studio and back to real life. Is that true?'

It is `just history' - but this feud is still tearing the Tories apart

The modern Tory party remains haunted by a brutal regicide of the woman who led them

So who's up, who's down, who's in, who's out. Who cares?

The annual ritual of the cabinet reshuffle is destabilising, unnecessary and should be scrapped

The Joys of Modern Life: 51. WINE WAREHOUSES

DO YOU remember what buying wine used to be like in this country? Of course you do - that's what it's still like, most of the time. In other words: a depressing search through three shelves of Paraquat which all seem to have come from non-wine-producing countries like Poland. The shop is called "Booze `n' Fags" and is by a smelly bus shelter in a high-insurance belt of town.

Scots with a Norse accent

Iain Millar went to Shetland, drank champagne on the high seas and bumped into a singing traffic warden

Rogue Trader: The week ahead

Monday

Aitken Sentenced: Humbling of a high-roller who gambled and lost

SO THE HUMBLING of the aloof and glamourous Jonathan Aitken, born into the heart of the establishment and once tipped to hold the highest public office, is now complete.

CBI to tell ministers when Britain should join Emu

BRITAIN'S leading employers organisation will next month tell the Government when - and even at what rate - to join the European single currency, if its members decide firmly in favour of one option.
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent