Under £200... Capital Christmas shopping

Tune Hotels offers a budget pre-Christmas stay in the English and Scottish capitals, with double rooms for £50 at some London properties and £25 in Edinburgh. These rates apply on a few nights between now and Christmas, with availability good on 23, 24 and 25 December.

OPERA The sickly sweet smell of success

Salome Royal Opera, London

OBITUARIES: Professor Eric Mottram

To your obituaries of Eric Mottram [by John Calder and Clive Bush, 19 January], may I add that he was a most distinguished alumnus of the Salzburg Seminar in American Studies? writes John Gillard Watson. As a participant in the Summer Session 1953

Football: Milan lose two points: European champions punished

A UEFA disciplinary committee yesterday deducted two European Champions' League points from the holders, Milan, and ordered them to play their next two home ties in the tournament 300km (186 miles) from their ground.

Sleeping at the top: If you want to avoid the lifts and queues, simply stay higher up, says Chris Gill

THE trouble with ski resorts, even high ones surrounded by snow, is that they are usually at the bottom of their ski areas. The skiing day starts with the tedious business of riding a lift and, if you're unlucky, queuing for that privilege with hundreds of others. But there are alternatives.

Flights of fancy . . . Fly away

First Choice (061-745 7000) offers 14 September, Gatwick-Salzburg, seven nights half-board, pounds 229; also 16 September, Luton-Menorca, seven nights self-catering, pounds 259.

Obituary: Julia Osvath

Julia Osvath, soprano: born Budapest 15 February 1908; died 20 August 1994.

Obituary: Robert Jungk

Robert Jung (Robert Jungk), journalist, historian, peace campaigner: born Berlin 11 May 1913; married Ruth Suschitzky; died Salzburg 14 July 1994.

How We Met: Hildegard Bechtler and Billy Paterson

Theatre designer Hildegard Bechtler, 42, grew up in Stuttgart. Her work includes Peter Grimes and Lohengrin for the English National Opera, Coriolanus at Salzburg, and the current ENO production of Lohengrin. In 1984 she married Billy Paterson; they live in London with their two children.

Contemporary Art Market: Saatchi swoops for video pieces

CHARLES SAATCHI, the advertising tycoon, has made another dawn raid on a gallery, sweeping up the top exhibits for his famous collection of contemporary art.

Obituary: Jarmila Novotna

Jarmila Novotna, opera singer: born Prague 23 September 1907; married George Daubek (one son, one daughter); died New York City 9 February 1994.

The life and tragic death of Ulli Maier: The grief-stricken world of skiing is united in mourning for the heroine it lost: Simon O'Hagan shares the sense of loss as a nation weeps for its idol of the slopes

AS THE sun went down behind the mountain, they gathered in little groups in the square. They might have been students on an excursion, deciding what to do next. Except that there were no looks of expectation on their faces, only of grief. And the big 'Austria' emblazoned in gothic script on the back of their ski jackets denoted membership of one of their country's most exclusive clubs. These weeping young men and women were Austria's finest skiers - the ones Ulli Maier left behind.

Travel: Prices on a sliding scale: Which ski resorts are most expensive? Chris Gill finds that some of them are pretty steep

In the autumn, I poured scorn on the 'typical prices' published in some of the new ski resort guides which were, to say the least, misleading, and I invited readers to record prices on their early- season skiing trips. Fifty-two readers came up with the goods. My thanks to them for their conscientious efforts; when Where to Ski is published in the autumn, they will each receive a copy.

Travel: High and drei in Austria - France is not alone in offering three-valley skiing. Chris Gill slopes off to a quieter place

To British skiers, 'the three valleys' means the Trois Vallees area of France, with Meribel at its centre - the most extensive lift and piste network in the world.
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent