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It’s not easy for professional football players to acquire a reputation for being more stupid or badly behaved than common opinion already holds.

Loose Cannons (12A)

Starring: Riccardo Scamarcio

Remains of American balloonists found

The remains of two American balloonists missing over the Adriatic since September 29 have been found by a fishing boat, an Italian port official said today.

I have anaemia, says 'exhausted' Sneijder

Internazionale star Wesley Sneijder has been diagnosed with anaemia after passing out at halftime in Saturday's Serie A match with Brescia.

This boot was made for walking: Hiking the spur of Italy's heel

The stunning scenery of Italy's Gargano Peninsula's is no longer the preserve of pilgrims.

If Puglia is the new Tuscany, where are all the British?

The threatened invasion from our shores hasn't materialised so far. Adrian Mourby visits a new hotel that could persuade us to make the journey

Spinning in his grave? Fury at glitzy new tomb for revered saint

After months on the defensive, a scandal-ridden Catholic Church has decided to counter-attack by wheeling out two of its big guns.

Singer can take both sexes' roles

A trainee opera singer has combined a sex change with a dramatic extension in her vocal range to gain admission into one of Italy's most prestigious music schools.

Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari: Empowerment matters. Here's why

It was the American political scientist Charles Tilly who referred to ‘democracy as a lake' that should be measured by its depth and wideness. Here in the UK we have a diverse and deep society – but our democratic institutions belong to another era.

Italian hit parade: A small town in Puglia comes alive for one of the world's oldest festivals

President Obama made his way towards me, grinning insanely and waving his arms. He was dressed, leprechaun-like, in a green suit and hat, and surrounded by dancers in glitzy outfits. Hundreds of cameras flashed from the crowd tightly packed along the parade route and people cheered and clapped as the great man approached.

Petroceltic seeks partner to help develop Italy's Elsa oilfield

Petroceltic, one of the biggest companies on the Alternative Investment market, is looking to for a partner for an Italian oilfield.

Trail Of The Unexpected: Rooftop charm in Alberobello, Southern Italy

My first trullo was above Fasano. I'd just climbed 990 feet from the Puglian coastal plain with its large box-like masserias and suddenly there it was, a round whitewashed structure with a circular tiled roof topped off with what looked like a stone chess piece.

Abdel bari Atwan: Fine words, but the real test is to come

President Barack Obama's speech was impressive by any standard but I was disappointed in the fundamentals.

Album: Charles Evans, The King of All Instruments, (Hot Cup)

The instrument in question is the mighty baritone sax, which Philadelphia-born Charles Evans turns into a quartet, chamber group or bari-choir through judicious overdubbing on this intermittently amazing solo recording.

Pizza with more pizzazz: Puglia is a food-lover's paradise

When Alex James fancied learning more about Italian cuisine, he headed off to Puglia – and soon realised that he'd landed in a food-lover's paradise

Alex James: Getting a pizza the action from a master

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?