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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Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

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Promises, promises

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The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

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He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

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Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

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From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

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Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
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Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

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