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.

Michael Clarke is given a standing ovation as he leaves the field

John Townsend: Michael Clarke wears the mantle of Don Bradman with singular style in Ashes 2013-14

He is the first Australian cricketer in 70 years to match the influence of the greatest exponent of the national game

The novel cure: Distrust of visionaries

Literary prescriptions for modern ailments

Huge waves pound Eyemouth harbour in Scotland during the storm surge

UK extreme weather: Government in perfect storm over climate change gaffe as floods render homes uninsurable

Ministers accused of hugely underestimating number of households rendered uninsurable by repeated flooding

Great works: A Member of the Family By Sarah Raphael (1990)

Marlborough Fine Art, London

UK weather: People urged to remain vigilant as high tides and strong winds continue through the night

Houses been swept into the sea over night as the biggest tidal surge in 60 years hit the east coast. The Environment Agency has urged people to remain vigilant as the high tides continue through the night

UK chef creates world's most expensive ready meal - a fish pie costing £314

Charlie Bigham's said the Swish Pie would only be 'a drop in the ocean' to its customers

Viewpoint: Pepper Club Hotel, Cape Town

Get me out of here... - winter sun, northern Norway, Cape Town

Now... Winter sun in the wild Atlantic

Cape Verde is an Atlantic island nation that basks in year-round sunshine. Departing on 10 December, you can spend a week exploring the main island of Boa Vista, using the Iberostar as your base, with meals, transfers and Thomson flights from Gatwick for £828pp. capeverde.co.uk

The cover of Manil Suri's 'The City of Devi'

Bad Sex in Fiction award 2013: Manil Suri’s subatomic bisexual orgy in The City of Devi beats hillbilly humping to award

Indian-born author joins Sebastian Faulks, Melvyn Bragg and Tom Wolfe among the pantheon of writers recognised by the Literary Review

The Barrier Reef, the world's largest living organism, has been damaged by climate change, pollution and voracious crown-of-thorns starfish

A last chance to save Australia’s Great Barrier Reef: Scientists launch audacious plan to create ‘fertility clinic’ to breed endangered coral

The world’s largest living organism has shrunk by about half over the past 30 years as a result of climate change, ocean acidification, pollution and crown-of-thorns starfish, which prey on coral

Helicopter crash Glasgow: Inquiry into Clutha Vaults accident could take months

An initial bulletin detailing the basic events of the Glasgow pub helicopter crash could well be issued soon by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) team.

The high-speed ferry Madeira is docked at a shipyard after hitting an unidentified object in Hong Kong

More than 80 injured after high-speed Hong Kong ferry hits 'unidentified object'

Hong Kong government said at least three of the people on board who were taken to hospital were in a serious condition

New Zealand's Sonny Bill Williams will pose a huge threat to the Australians in tthes World Cup final at Old Trafford – but can he help them retain their crown?

Rugby League World Cup final: Australia eager for revenge against New Zealand

While the New Zealand coach, Stephen Kearney, is doing his best to give his world champions the tag of underdogs before Saturday’s World Cup final against Australia, Kangaroos forward Greg Bird is having none of it.

A rare photograph of author JD Salinger, right, with a friend

Three unpublished JD Salinger stories leak online

The collection was uploaded despite the author's wish to keep it secret

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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
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
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