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From forest cottages and Antarctic cruises to Chengdu and Greece in London

Szechuan peppercorns cause a unique sensation

What's the difference between a Szechuan pepper and a vibrator?

Not much, at least according to top scientists from a prestigious university in London, who claim that the sensation caused by eating the unique Chinese peppercorn feels exactly the same as pressing a vibrator to your lips.

Former Public Security Minister Zhou Yongkang is to be investigated

China’s corruption crackdown goes all the way to the top, with former security tsar to be investigated

Member of Communist Party’s most powerful body the latest to be investigated in Xi’s shake-up

Fiery dish: Sichuan sea bass

Sichuan sea bass

Serves 10

Video: Landslide in China sweeps away 28 houses

Dramatic footage has captured the moment a giant stream of mud and rocks poured down the side of a mountain in China.

Heavy flood waters sweeping through Beichuan in southwest China's Sichuan province

Devastating floods in China trigger huge landslide, burying 40

Rescue workers have been called to the scene in a bid to find survivors

The 'New Century Global Centre' building which is the biggest standalone structure in world

World's largest building: The New Century Global Center officially opens in China

The building is so large it is capable housing 20 Sydney Opera Houses and is almost three times the size of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

Chinese Passenger jet makes emergency landing after being hit by UFO (unidentified 'foreign object') at 26,000 feet

Large dent and scraped paintwork visible on Air China Boeing 757's nosecone

Forty miners killed in China coal mine explosions

Forty miners have died in two separate coal mine explosions in south-western China, authorities said.

A child gets treatment in a military field hospital in Lushan, Sichuan

Sichuan earthquake: Hong Kong urges aid veto over corruption fears

Politicians in Hong Kong have fiercely opposed a plan to donate money to Sichuan to help with earthquake relief efforts, citing concerns that the local government would misuse the funds.

China police believe missing tycoon was helping fugitive brother

Police disclosed today that a Chinese tycoon whose disappearance threatened to disrupt deals with mining companies in the United States and Australia is being held on suspicion he helped hide a brother who is a murder suspect.

Free Tibet: teenage monks and woman in self-immolation protest for congress

Three teenage Tibetan monks and a woman set fire to themselves to protest Chinese rule on the eve of a pivotal Communist Party congress, activists said today.

Chinese conservationists celebrate birth of seven baby pandas

Seven baby panda cubs have been born at a research and conservation facility in Sichuan Province, China.

Diageo seals deal to flog Chinese luxury spirit in UK at £99 a bottle

The drink that has sealed millions of Chinese business deals is about to go on sale in London, after Diageo agreed a UK distribution deal.

Earthquake leaves four dead in China

A moderate earthquake has toppled houses in a mountainous part of south-western China, killing four people and injuring at least 100, state media said.

Tibetan protester Jamphel Yeshi set himself on fire in New Delhi ahead of Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to India earlier this year

China cracks down after Tibetan self-immolations

The 33-year-old who died at the sceneis the 35th Tibetan to immolate since March last year

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 12 March 2015
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor