Travel Passengers dine in the restaurant car of the Red Arrow to St Petersburg

For 150 years the railway line between Moscow and St Petersburg ran as straight as an arrow for 403 miles. Straight, but for one big bend near Novgorod. The story goes that Tsar Nicholas was so fed up of officials dithering over the route that he plonked a ruler on the map and drew a straight line between the two cities, accidentally drawing around his finger in the process. Too terrified to point out his error, the builders constructed the railway with the Tsar's bump in place.

5 ways to... follow Dalí

From Catalonia via Paris to the shores of Florida

Book review: 'One Another' by Alisa Resnik

The winner of this year’s European Publishers Award for Photography is Alisa Resnik for her project One Another. The winning book is published simultaneously in five editions, in five languages.

One of the cylinders of the final Megatons-to-Megawatts shipment, on its way to the uranium plant in Paducah

How America uses Russian warheads to heat its homes

For 10 years shipments of uranium have been quietly changing hands

Freelance videographer Kieron Bryan (second left) with Greenpeace activists, Anthony Perrett (left), Alexandra Harris, Iain Rogers and Phil Ball (right), as they arrive at St Pancras Station, London, after being detained in Russia as part of the so-called 'Arctic 30'

Five British members of the 'Arctic 30' return to Britain and vow to continue the campaign

Greenpeace campaigners were greeted by jubilant friends and family at St Pancras Station on Friday night

Greenpeace International activist Mannes Ubels from the Netherlands jumps for joy holding his passport outside of the offices of the Federal Migration Service Department in St. Petersburg after receiving a Russian transit visa

Arctic 30 heading home after being cleared under Putin amnesty

30 Greenpeace activists detained in September will have left the country by the end of the weekend after having their charges dropped and being issued transit visas

26 members of the so-called 'Arctic 30' pictured at the beginning of December

Russia formally drops criminal charges against Arctic 30 Greenpeace activists

The protesters and two freelance journalists, including six Britons - were arrested after Russian authorities boarded their ship, the Arctic Sunrise, during an anti-drilling demonstration in September

Fortune's Fool at the Old Vic
Alex Harris was one of the first 'Arctic 30' detainees to be granted bail

Arctic 30: Russia 'defies international ruling' and tells protesters they cannot leave

The Russian authorities have told a group of Greenpeace activists and freelance journalists arrested during a protest against oil drilling in the Arctic that they cannot leave the country.

Police officers detain a gay rights activist during an unauthorized protest - Irina Putilova has said that the new anti-gay legislation in Russia had increased homophobic violence

Russian bisexual activist Irina Putilova is released from detention and taken off fast-track asylum list

Thousands of people signed a petition to support the 28-year-old's release

Police officers detain a gay rights activist during an unauthorized protest - Irina Putilova has said that the new anti-gay legislation in Russia had increased homophobic violence

Bisexual Russian activist fears for her safety after British authorities threaten to deport her

Irina Putilova could be returned home in a matter of days

Pavel Dmitrichenko, left, in footage released by Moscow police. The dancer was convicted of organising an acid attack on Sergei Filin, right

Bolshoi Ballet dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko sentenced to six years in prison over acid attack on artistic director Sergei Filin

Dancer and two co-defendants found guilty of attack which almost blinded the company’s artistic director Sergei Filin

Greenpeace arctic protest: Briton Philip Ball is freed

He was granted bail last week but remained in detention before being released by a court in St Petersburg today

British Greenpeace International activist Anthony Perrett at the Court hearings, in Murmansk, Russia

Greenpeace Arctic 30: Five Britons released on bail

Mr Perrett and Bryan have now been moved to an undisclosed location after a St Petersburg court granted their release

Members of the Native American Women Warriors march during the annual Veterans Day Parade in New York earlier this month

First people to colonise the Americas before Christopher Columbus are linked to Europe by new DNA discovery

DNA indicates that group of Siberians must have played a key role

Greenpeace Arctic 30: Russia grants bail to captain and two Britons

Captain Peter Wilcox and Britons Alex Harris and Kieron Bryan were granted bail today along with two other Greenpeace activists

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform