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.

Brazil striker Hulk

Brazil striker Hulk claims Chelsea are interested in signing him

The Zenit St Petersburg striker is attracting the interest of Jose Mourinho

The News Matrix: Monday 27 May 2013

Pakistani lesbians marry in Britain

Russia homophobic murder: Two detained after man is beaten and tortured to death in anti-gay attack in Volgograd

Victim had been drinking with two men, who allegedly started beating him when he revealed he was gay

Venus, Flora, Mars and Cupid (Allegory) by Paris Bordone

Sir Robert Walpole's 'magnificent' art collection to return home to Britain - temporarily

Works by masters including Rembrandt, Velasquez and Rubens to be displayed at Houghton Hall in Norfolk

On Glasgow and Edinburgh, By Robert Crawford

A study of the love and hate between 'enlightenment' Edinburgh and 'industrial' Glasgow

In the Red: Why I'm waving goodbye to freebies - until the next time

There was a time when journalists didn't have to pay a penny to go on holiday

Former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler

Mark Knopfler cancels Russian gigs over country's 'human rights crackdown'

Mark Knopfler has cancelled two shows in Russia in protest over what he says is a crackdown on human rights groups in the country.

Roberto Mancini believes that 13-goal Dzeko would really prosper in Italy

Roberto Mancini claims Manchester City can reignite title race

Manchester United lead their rivals by 12 points

Martin Skrtel

Martin Skrtel's Liverpool future uncertain after defender questions Brendan Rodgers

Skrtel suggests he may have been misled by the Liverpool manager

On hold: Armen Nazaryan says ‘from now on I will drink only syrup’

Wrestling may be back in the rings

All is not lost for one of the oldest Olympic disciplines as rival politicians form an unlikely tag team

Joe Allen of Liverpool has vowed to make up for his recent lack of form

Joe Allen to make up for recent dip in form for Liverpool

The Reds are in Europa League action tonight

Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Sightseeing in deepest Finland

Q I am flying to deepest Finland from Heathrow, with a five-and-a-half-hour stopover in Helsinki. Is this enough time for sightseeing or am I doomed to wander the corridors and gift shops waiting for the hours to tick by?

Alastair Kleissner, South Wales

Take advantage of a Finnish stopover by taking a break from the airport

Q&A: Travel unravelled

Police held gay rights activists who staged a protest against the Bill, which targets those who promote homosexuality to children

Activists held in protest over ‘gay propaganda’ bill

Russian parliament approves outlawing the promotion of homosexual links

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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
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent