14 killed as police raid Rio ganglands

Police raided shanty towns in Rio de Janeiro yesterday, setting off clashes that killed 14 people as authorities try to halt a wave of violent crime that has rattled rich and poor alike in a city that Brazil hopes to make a showpiece for the 2016 Olympics.

Drug gang members battle police in Rio

Suspected gang members burned cars and buses in Rio de Janeiro yesterday in a fourth day of violence, defying a heavy police presence and raids on slums which left seven dead.

Post-2012 funding to rely on Lottery

The Olympics minister, Hugh Robertson, has promised there will be no drop in funding for elite athletes after the London 2012 Games.

24-hour Room Service: Hotel Fasano, Rio de Janeiro

Lap up the cool vibe and ocean views

Brazilians vote in presidential election

Brazilians are going to the polls today in national elections that could see front-running candidate Dilma Rousseff become the country's first female president, succeeding her popular ally and mentor.

Front-runner in Brazilian election denies corruption

With just three weeks before Brazilians go to the polls to decide who should fill the shoes of President Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva, the campaign has abruptly been muddied by allegations of dirty-tricks campaigning and corruption on the part of the ruling party's candidate, Dilma Rousseff.

Leading article: A policy for the planet

The pace of global warming is so slow that it is hard for most mere mortals to grasp its implications. That may explain why so many people refuse to accept the science of climate change. It often requires creative artists to convey the scale of its challenge to humanity. In Earthquakes in London, the highly acclaimed play by Mike Bartlett at the National Theatre, an expectant mother is driven half-mad by her fears for the planet on which her baby will be born.

48 Hours In: Rio de Janeiro

Brazil's 'marvellous city' is as flamboyant, dramatic and seductive as ever – even in the South American winter.

Cech a doubt for Chelsea opener after injuring calf in training

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech suffered a calf injury in training yesterday and could be ruled out for the champions' first Premier League game of the season against West Bromwich Albion.

Plane diverted after bomb threat

An Air France passenger jet from Rio de Janeiro to Paris was forced to make an emergency landing in north-eastern Brazil because of a bomb threat, a company spokesman said.

On top of the world: Why Brazil is booming

It is a 100th birthday party in a well-to-do postcode of Sao Paulo, where the house of our journalist host – he and another writer pal are actually each turning 50 – slips graciously down a slope to a terrace and the chatter is nearly all politics. Then the DJ cuts the music in the middle of a samba everyone knows. They reflexively fill in: "Ò coisinha tão bonitinha do papai" – "Oh daddy's beautiful little thing".

Travel Agenda: Okinawa Day; Hotel Le Seven; Britain to Rio de Janeiro

Today: Find out about Japan's southern islands at Okinawa Day in London's Spitalfields, which celebrates art, music and food from this sub-tropical archipelago (okinawaday.org.uk). From Asia to Iberia ... the capital is also celebrating Spanish food in Potters Fields Park next to City Hall with Tapas Fantasticas. The event, which runs over the weekend, celebrates wines from Rioja and the country's venerated food ( winesfromrioja.co.uk/tapasfantasticas ).

Referee Simon happy to chat despite swearing ban

The England players are on notice that swearing will be to their detriment this evening after Brazilian referee Carlos Simon's crash course in abusive English language – but verbal communication is possible as Simon is a referee who is known to like talking to players during the game.

Brazilian referee for US opener labelled 'risky'

The Brazilian referee Carlos Simon, who has been selected to take charge of England's first World Cup finals group match against the United States on Saturday, has made so many controversial decisions that one of his nation's biggest clubs petitioned Fifa to get him thrown out the tournament.

Report on failure to halt wildlife decline is buried

A report showing that Britain is failing to halt the declines of many of its highest-priority wildlife species and habitats, from the red squirrel, the juniper and the common skate to chalk rivers and coastal salt marshes, was "sneaked out" this week by the Government with no publicity, environmental campaign groups said yesterday.

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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
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As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links