News A displaced family camp under a tree providing partial shade from the midday sun

Mediators said it was now unclear if South Sudanese rebels would start face-to-face peace talks with the government on Saturday, dampening hopes of a swift end to weeks of ethnic fighting in the world's youngest state.

Saharan dust clouds likely to bring ghoulish weather phenomenon to the UK

Will it rain blood on Halloween? Saharan dust clouds likely to bring ghoulish weather phenomenon to the UK

Warm fronts expected to carry large amounts of red Saharan sand which, as the warm spell turns to rain and possibly even snow at the end of the week, will fall in liquid droplets that look like blood.

Cold Sea Stories, Paweł Huelle, trans. Antonia Lloyd-Jones

These short stories are dizzying, beautiful – and occasionally verge on the ridiculous
Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who is seen by the West as an ally against al-Qa’ida’s increasing presence in the Sahara, has ruled over a north-west African country that has been largely stable since he seized power in 2008

President on the mend after 'accidental' shooting

The Mauritanian President appeared on television to call for calm yesterday, hours after being shot by soldiers in what he said was an accident.

Our team is a model for other generations,’ say Dominique
(left) and Jean

Tutsis and Hutus unite to bury memory of Rwanda’s civil war

Dominique and Jean bear the scars of a brutal conflict. Then they were enemies. Now they find themselves in the same volleyball team – and a friendship has blossomed

Album: Alhousseini Anivolla, Anewal/The Walking Man (Riverboat Records)

The Tuareg desert rock (not blues, as some have it) of Tinariwen and Etran Finatawa becomes a retrospective affair on this debut by the latter's guitarist.

Daniel Howden: In Nairobi, business is booming in the gleaming new branches of KFC

The city's new plazas are full of South African fast-food outlets copying those in the US

Islamist rebels from Ansar Dine fighting near Timbuktu

Timbuktu begs: save us from al-Qa’ida

Mayor of historic city calls for foreign intervention to help fight militants

Leading article: Ms Gates throws down the gauntlet

The phrase "family planning" has the whiff of a more euphemistic age: in the affluent West, it has become a fact of life both as familiar as brushing one's teeth, and as basic to the health of society. It is hard to imagine how a country like Britain could have coped with the complex challenges of the modern world if families had continued to grow in size, as they did in the 19th century.

Western living 'fuels cancer rates'

Unhealthy Western ways of living are likely to fuel a massive surge in cancer rates around the world, experts have claimed.

After 8,000 miles, Martin the cuckoo is almost home

It's nearly here, the best-loved sound of spring, the double note of the cuckoo: in fact, it's in southern Spain, on the last leg of a 4,000-mile journey from Central Africa.

British Embassy staff quit Mali after coup

Staff are being withdrawn from the British Embassy in Mali in the wake of the military coup.

Britons warned to leave Mali after attempted coup

British citizens have been warned to leave the African state of Mali unless they have "urgent business".

Bear Grylls was recently introduced to David Cameron

Bear Grylls leaves Discovery Channel

Intrepid TV adventurer and Chief Scout Bear Grylls has left the Discovery Channel after a row over "new programming", his publicist said today.

Jerome Taylor: Al-Qa'ida or not, this spread of terror could be disastrous

Violent Islamists have started to use increasingly bold tactics in the north

Jerome Taylor: Largely unnoticed, violent Islamist groups have been looking across the Sahara

Boko Haram's goals are still inherently local, but there are fears that more internationalist groups may seek to link up

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk