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.

Ben Ainslie: The Olympics' most successful sailor on tactics, flying and his split personality

Calling sailing elitist is a misconception Of course all sports at the highest level are expensive to compete; it costs a fortune to win the Tour de France. But in terms of grass-roots level, it's relatively inexpensive; you don't need your own dinghy, and at my local club in Lymington, local school pupils can sail for a fiver – that's comparable to any other sport.

Ice-bound: Akademik Shokalskiy and passengers

Icebreakers fail to free Russian research ship stuck in the Antarctic

The penguins watching the increasingly bizarre multinational events unfolding in the Antarctic look rightly bemused.

On the agenda: East 17 redux; Hustle hair; New Year's resolutions; animal hats; 'lelfies'

Middle-class problems: New Year's parties

An inquisitive Adelie Penguin next to the stranded ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which is trapped in the ice at sea off Antarctica

Rescue of Russian boat stuck in Antarctic ice delayed as Chinese icebreaker forced to turn back

The Chinese vessel has been forced to retreat after a failed attempt to reach the ship. A French vessel has already launched an abandoned rescue attempt

2013 - the year in review: Slowly, the world economy is turning a corner

An uneven recovery began to strengthen. The US, despite having to cope with feuding over its budget, seems to have sped up

Postcard from... Sydney

Neil Gaiman has won Book of the Year 2013 with modern fantasy novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane wins Book of the Year 2013

The author beat novels from Kate Atkinson and David Walliams

The Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy trapped in thick Antarctic ice, 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart, Australia

Chinese icebreaker heads to rescue Russian vessel stranded in Antarctica

A Russian ship that has been trapped in thick Antarctic ice since Christmas Eve is on the verge of being rescued as a Chinese icebreaker named the Snow Dragon draws near.

Dima Litvinov became the first member of the so-called 'Arctic 30' to leave Russia; boarding a train at a railway station in St. Petersburg

First Greenpeace activist leaves Russia - with rest of 'Arctic 30' to leave by Friday

The first of 30 Greenpeace activists arrested after a protest over Arctic oil drilling has left Russia, the environmental group said on Thursday, with all expected to get clearance to leave Russia by Friday.

In his element: Robert Redford

All Is Lost, film review: Five stars for stunning new Robert Redford movie

J C Chandor’s brilliant film starring Robert Redford fulfills all the criteria of new mini-genre of survival stories

Did you #joinin this Christmas?

Judging by the national mood, I would urge David Cameron to go to the polls now; the mood is good out there

Paul Giamatti as Harold Levinson and Poppy Drayton as Madeline in Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey Christmas Special TV Review: Christmas at Downton was a bit of a post-turkey snooze

There was a time when the Downton Abbey Christmas special might involve a lady revealing she was up the duff by the chauffeur, or a much-loved character croaking it in a car accident. This year, it was as if, chastened by reactions to their rape storyline, the writers were determined to include nothing even mildly dramatic. If you were looking for a good time to fit in that post-turkey snooze, 8.30pm till 10.30pm was your window.

Two sailors rescued after being caught in violent storm on the Atlantic Ocean as they returned from Transat Jacques Vabre

The pair were picked up Norwegian freighter en route for Rotterdam after previous attempts to help them failed

Plane rage: Indonesian district chief blocks runway to prevent landing after being refused seat on fully booked flight

A district chief closed his local airport after being refused a ticket on a fully booked incoming flight.

How a campaign to save sharks can help elephants

When the buying of ivory and shark fins stops, the killing can too

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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
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific