Travel

My stomach has endured the full scope of awful foods this planet has to offer Trying adventurous food is a big part of travelling, but India, where I'm travelling through now, has more problems with [food] hygiene than anywhere else in the world. It's a cultural problem, as eating meat is a rarity in rural areas, so they treat it like a vegetable, keeping it in a cupboard. So when the occasional Westerner passes through, by the time it's pulled out, it's been in there for a few months. When travelling across poorer parts of India now, I try to survive off rice and dahl.

The novel cure: Literary prescriptions for being the golden boy or girl

Ailment: Golden boy, being the

South Korea snubs North's offer to cancel military drills

South Korea rejected North Korea's offer to take a series of steps to ease tension that included cancelling Seoul's regular military drills with Washington, saying Friday that Pyongyang must take nuclear disarmament steps first.

England Lions bowler James Harris hoping to take full advantage of any Test opportunities that come his way after Steven Finn departure

England's bowlers have struggled to make any impact in Australia and the 23-year-old knows he could be handed a chance if he impresses on Tour of Sri Lanka

Former US defence secretary Robert Gates has warned the UK against reducing the size of its military

Britain is a 'first class player': David Cameron responds to ex-US Defence Secretary Robert Gates' claim that UK military cuts could mean 'no US partnership'

The Former US secretary said a reduction in personnel would damage the UK's ability to be a partner with America

A barge carries asylum-seekers bound for detention centres on Christmas Island after their boat was intercepted

Australian government uses military to repel ‘boat people’ but is silent on claims of savage treatment

Tony Abbott's administration was elected on a promise to 'stop the boats,' but hunger strikes and claims detainees have sewn their lips together have citizens asking 'at what cost?'

Edinburgh sperm whale is taken to landfill

It's the end of the tale for the 30-tonne mammal which washed up on a beach

Olympic boxer Mary Kom launches self-defence app and first ever 'female fight club' in India

New app and SMS service will offer advice and tips to women

15 bedroom detached house for sale in The Bishops Avenue, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London N2. On with Knight Frank for £65,000,000

One in three people spend under 30 minutes choosing a new home

And two thirds of people looking at properties online say they have no intention of buying or selling

Pine Island Glacier melting past 'the point of no return'

Current ice models are suggesting the glacier has become unstable, and this recession will continue

Kate Cross

Women's Ashes 2014: Kate Cross helps put England back on track

The bowler took three quick wickets to turn the Test around

Harry Martin

Police searching for missing student Harry Martin confirm a body found in sea

The identity of the body has not been confirmed

‘Which inventions were created by accident?’

Potato chips. In the 1800s in New York, a customer at a restaurant sent back French fries because they were too thick. The cook made thinner ones that the customer still thought were too thick. Exasperated, the chef made ones that were exceedingly thin to piss off the customer... who loved them.

Travel agenda

From food and wine in Melbourne and gourmet holidays in Portugal to polar exploration and visas for Turkey

Dolphins: Spy in the Pod, BBC1 - TV review

The second episode of nature documentary Dolphins: Spy in the Pod (BBC1) was like the visual equivalent of one of those "Sounds of the Ocean" CDs that insomniacs use to drift off. Nothing but calm blue seas as far as the eye can see, and the soothing Scots coo of narrator David Tennant. Well, that and the dolphins, of course.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'