Editorial: How does a week by the Sea of Tranquillity sound?

At approaching $1.5bn for a single pair of tickets, Golden Spike's plan for commercial trips to the Moon is ostensibly targeted at governments. The company, set up by former Nasa executives, hopes that the research opportunities will persuade states to stump up for the ride.

Sir Richard Branson completes a kitesurf across the Channel

Branson leads the kitesurfers' revolt as Olympic chiefs reverse course to leave sport out of Rio

Sailing's governing body reverses decision to replace windsurfing after international outcry

Tories out to banish memory of Mensch

Our diarist on the pickle in which Mensch's departure has left the Corby Tories, why jokes fall flat in Westminster, and a novel case of parliamentary expenses

Danny Rogers on PR: Firms' rapid response to major crises

The travel industry, by its very nature, has its fair share of crises. Planes can crash land, holiday operators fail and, worse, in January this year one of its biggest cruise ships, Costa Concordia sank with tragic loss of life.

Party people: Tom Parker Bowles; Mary Portas with her partner, Melanie Rickey

Mega-rich at war! Party crowd vs The well-heeled

Sanchez Manning on locals who want Quintessentially to pipe down

Felix Baumgartner; the Red Bull Air Race; Red Bull's wingsuit flyers

Sponsorship: The colour of money

As Red Bull prepares to send a man into the stratosphere, Simon Usborne examines its extreme-sports business plan

Margaret Hodge: Public Accounts Committee chairman says the controls are not strict enough

Margaret Hodge demands civil service changes amid West Coast main line rail fiasco

A senior MP today demanded sweeping changes to the civil service amid the West Coast main line rail fiasco.

FirstGroup sure on West Coast

FirstGroup is preparing to take over the West Coast rail franchise on 9 December, dismissing Virgin Trains' hopes of retaining its grip on the lucrative line, the transport group insisted yesterday.

JK Rowling will not abandon home planet

Not only is IV's favourite taxpayer loyal to her country, she's also loyal to Earth.

JK Rowling turned down £2 million trip to space

JK Rowling has claimed that she created a cosmic vacancy when she turned down a trip on a spaceship.

Jeremy Hunt and privatisation are no recipe for saving the NHS - but try telling the Blairites that

The appointment of the new Secretary of State for Health should be a warning for all; we must learn from our former mistakes before privatising our national institution.

Dance to Brussels tune for Universal

Universal Music is set to submit a raft of concessions to the European Commission today as the world's biggest record label strives to win permission for its £1.2bn takeover of EMI.

Small Talk: Brilliant but flighty... is that what we really think of entrepreneurs?

A relatively small number of small businesses really do have the power to transform the economy

Paralysed Claire Lomas completes London Marathon

It was only after 23 miles and 384 yards that the tears finally came. For more than a fortnight Claire Lomas had done a remarkable job of keeping it together, singularly focused on her goal of reaching the finishing line of the London marathon. But as she took her final step this afternoon, backed by the cheers of hundreds of supporters and a remarkable piece of engineering, there seemed little need to hold her emotions back any longer.

Andrew Martin: Please let the French run our railways in future

Brace yourself for some business news. A company called Keolis is bidding for the InterCity West Coast rail franchise, currently operated by Virgin. Keolis is majority-owned by the French state rail operator SNCF, and it is thought the bid might herald a pitch by the same company to run the London-Birmingham High Speed Two line when that is completed.

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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 1 May 2015
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before