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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us