Travel

Shorter cruises are all the rage, says leading cruise line P&O (0843 374 0111; pocruises.co.uk), which is adding nine new two- to five-night sailings to the Channel Islands, Belgium and the Netherlands, all departing from Southampton. A two-night cruise on Azura to St Peter Port, Guernsey, costs from £199pp, including meals and entertainment. Departs 16 April.

Time is of the essence for Smith

Cricket

THE WORLD IN MOTION: GREECE BY FERRY BOAT; In the wake of Odysseus

The scent of pines drifting across the wine-dark sea; the odour of grilled octopus rising from the quayside at Siros. Travelling the Greek islands by ferry can't be matched,writes Marc Dubin, in the first part of our series about modes of transport round the world

Letter: A little something for Rhodes scholars

Sir: Your comments on Bath Council's dilemma over the choice of street names ('Street name stirs up social unrest', 15 June) reminds me of a recent visit to Rhodes, where there is a street bearing the name E. Bevin in Greek and English.

Ben hopes dashed

Hopes that Greek police were close to tracing the missing child Ben Needham, who disappeared from the island of Kos in 1991, have been dashed. Police have called off inquiries into a claim Ben was living in Salonika with a man called Nikos.

Reward hope

THE parents of missing toddler Ben Needham flew to Greece hoping a pounds 20,000 reward will help find their son, who disappeared from the island of Kos in July 1991, aged 21 months.

Writers' awards

Nicholas Schoon, the Environment Correspondent of the Independent, was highly commended in the Glaxo/Association of British Science Writers science writers awards. Neil McKenna became the first to win the Mike Rhodes Award in recognition of the 'promotion and understanding of lesbian and gay life' for his 'pioneering' work with the Independent.

Fashion Update: Zandra raids her archives

IF YOUR old Zandra Rhodes handkerchief-hem skirt is still lurking in the wardrobe, dust off the mothballs - for that is what the designer herself is doing.

OPERA / Mixed company: David Patrick Stearns on Ariadne auf Naxos

RICHARD Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos, an 'opera within an opera' that first depicts the backstage chaos and then shows the on-stage result, has remained a unique juxtaposition of musical theatre elements. As pretentious 18th-century opera seria singers are forced to share the stage with a commedia dell'arte troupe, the rarefied and the coarse, the obvious and the subtle, the artificial and the real rub shoulders in a way that might have intrigued Bertolt Brecht while delighting more conservative opera-goers with its dry wit.

Travel: Ferried back to the isles of white: As the Olympic Games start in Barcelona today, Simon Calder visits the place where they all began, in Greece. He jogs around the capital, sprints along the original Olympic track and checks out the islands

WHILE I was stuck in a muddy field on the Isle of Wight pretending to enjoy the last riffs of Hendrix, my less impoverished pals were flitting around the Greek islands. In the Seventies, wafting around the Aegean was a warm alternative to rock festivals. My fortunate friends returned with exaggerated (presumably) stories involving Japanese motorbikes, Lebanese drugs, Danish women and the occasional goat. But by the time I could afford to reach Greece, it seemed I had missed the boat. Mass tourism had begun and lager-like-Lowenbrau-makes-it was the main intoxicant.
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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
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003