Via the Northern Sea Route, ships can make the journey in 35 days, instead of the usual 48
She was known as "Europe's first lady of jazz" and first to last Rita Reys called the shots, overcoming cancer, confounding endless speculation about her retirement and still performing into her late 80s. Reys was a singer in the Ella Fitzgerald/Sarah Vaughan style who managed to incorporate large elements of cabaret into her work and in doing so won an ever-wider audience. The "first lady" title was given to her at the Juan-les-Pins festival in 1960, at a time when only the Swedish singer Alice Babs, who was a little under a year older, might have laid similar claim. Both women, though, won the admiration of senior American figures and she later recorded with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and with admired composer/arrangers Oliver Nelson and Quincy Jones. One of the most cherished honours of her long life was being made a Citizen of Honour in New Orleans in 1980, a decade after her first appearance at the New Orleans Jazz Festival.
The Dutch–British composer of an official anthem intended for the swearing-in of Holland’s future king, Willem-Alexander, was forced to withdraw his work today amid vitriol from tens of thousands of online protesters and claims that the song sounded like North Korean propaganda.
The French Football Federation paid tribute to former Arsenal striker Sylvain Wiltord, who has announced his retirement.
Roger Federer said a busy opening to the season had "taken its toll" after the world No 3's 16-match unbeaten run was ended by the world No 34, Andy Roddick, in the third round of the Miami Masters on Monday night. Federer, who lost 7-6, 1-6, 6-4, was playing his 29th match of the season.
Great Britain's dressage riders showcased their London 2012 medal credentials yesterday by being crowned European team champions for the first time.
Only seven living people hold judo's highest rank, the "10th Dan" black belt. As of yesterday, a 72-year-old Scotsman is one of them.
Dutch authorities fire Swiss intellectual and TV anchor over links to Iran
John Lloyd, Britain's Davis Cup captain, was bracing himself last night for an anxious few days after Andy Murray cast doubt on his availability for next week's tie against Ukraine in Glasgow by withdrawing from the Dubai Championships. The British No 1, who pulled out before he was due to play Richard Gasquet here in the quarter-finals, has a virus that has been troubling him ever since last month's Australian Open.
When the dusty heirlooms and bric-a-brac of a once-stately French family went under the hammer at a minor auction eight years ago, an anonymous portrait of the Dutch scholar Erasmus sold for €2000 (£1,900).