Michael McCarthy: A jamboree that promises more than it can deliver

The trouble with the Rio+20 UN conference, which began yesterday and ends tomorrow with more than 100 world leaders in attendance in the Brazilian city, is that it is a summit in search of a purpose.

Environment Minister Tony Burke

Australia plans marine reserve the size of India

Australia has announced an ambitious plan to create the world's largest network of marine reserves, with fishing to be restricted and oil and gas exploration banned in the most sensitive areas.

Population growth and over-consumption could have 'potentially catastrophic implications for human wellbeing'

On the eve of the Rio+20 conference, the world’s 105 science academies have warned international leaders that a failure to act now on population growth and over-consumption will have “potentially catastrophic implications for human wellbeing”.

Scrapped: Gramacho's army of catadores will be out of a job when it closes

Rio shuts down its trash mountain

More than 1,700 'garbage-pickers' will lose livelihoods

Portfolio: VII Agency

When the VII photography collective was established in 2001, little could its members have known quite how timely was their alliance. For just three days later, two airplanes were flown into New York's World Trade Center – and an agency that had dedicated itself to documenting the impact of modern conflict was instantly in the thick of one of the greatest crises experienced by the West for many a year.

Man in court over £250,000 Heathrow cocaine smuggle

A suspected drug smuggler appeared in court today accused of flying into Heathrow with cocaine worth £250,000 in his luggage.

Giles Scott beats Ben Ainslie in UK Finn national championships

Ben Ainslie was beaten into the second place by his great British rival Giles Scott at the UK national championship for the singlehanded Finn dinghy in Falmouth.

Party people: Trinidad and Tobago

The greatest shows on earth

Vivid, vibrant and noisy: carnival season is here at the world's top party places

Go for close encounters with the famous colony of African penguins at Boulders Beach

Cape Town: Get an appetite for Africa

City Slicker: Cape Town - This modern gem has great beaches, mountain views, and no jet lag. James Litston offers tips for new and returning visitors

Captain Richie McCaw lifts the Webb Ellis trophy

United States considering bid for 2023 Rugby World Cup

United States are discussing a bid to stage the 2023 Rugby World Cup which could involve Canada co-hosting, according to USA Rugby CEO Nigel Melville.

Video: Deadly tram crash 'kills five'

At least five people have been killed and more than 30 injured after a tram derailed in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday.

To Be Sung Underwater, By Tom McNeal

The road not taken has long been a familiar theme in romantic fiction. In this all-American love story, a Californian building contractor turned novelist, Tom McNeal, gives an old story a fresh lick of paint and asks what happens when we re-visit turning points of youth.

Itamar Franco: Politician who led Brazil through financial chaos and paved the way for the country's new-found prosperity

Itamar Franco led Brazil through a time of financial chaos in the early 1990s, helping tame rampant inflation of 1,500 per cent and paving the way for a period of economic boom into this century. To many, however, he was probably best known for a famous photograph of him, at the time a 63-year-old divorcé, kissing and gyrating with a 27-year old Playboy cover girl, Lilian Ramos, during the 1994 Rio de Janeiro carnival. Taken from below the presidential platform, the photo left no doubt that Miss Ramos was wearing only a shortish, jungle-print T-shirt, gold high-heeled sandals and a broad smile. Not even what Brazilians call "dental floss" – a thong.

Air France pilot absent at start of descent

The flight recorders from an Air France plane that crashed nearly two years ago show that the captain only arrived in the cockpit after the plane had begun its fateful 3 1/2-minute descent, officials said today.

Brazil: Air France black box found, but data missing

Deep sea search teams have found part of the black box assembly of the Air France plane that crashed off Brazil, but without the memory unit that could provide crucial clues.

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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
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen