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.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Panama
Languedoc Roussillon
Marrakesh & the Atlas Mountains
Bruges
The Jura Mountains
Dubrovnik & the Dalmatian Coast
Prices correct as of 17 September 2014
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week