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Tesla electric cars made safer

Business Diary: Office knees-ups cost half-a-billion

Phew, we were starting to worry. Without certain hardy perennials – a Daily Mail story about repeats on the telly, for example – it just isn't Christmas. And with less than two weeks to go, we hadn't seen the "cost of the Christmas party" classic. Fortunately, here's Travelodge with some dubious research about the economic cost of a knees-up. "This revelry will cost £620m," the budget hotel group reckons. "On average, workers will spend three hours and five minutes just staring into space due to a raging hangover."

Business Diary: Can Tim and Greg take on the City?

Note to Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski: this could be the easiest way to earn big bucks for charity you've ever come across.

Business Diary: Willis tries hard to outshine cabbage

Who would you rather use as the face of your advertising campaign: Bruce Willis or a cabbage? Well, Russia's National Bank Trust initially wanted the cabbage (which is Russian slang for money), the Moscow Times reports, only for a rival to claim that it has already registered the vegetable as a trademark. At that stage, National Bank Trust opted for a change of direction, hiring Willis instead, who began appearing on billboards around the country on Monday. "Bruce Willis is power," Dmitry Chukseyev, the bank's communications vice president, told the Russian newspaper. "He works much better than cabbage."

The Big Six: Florida inns

From vintage motel chic in Tampa Bay to sleek a Orlando inn and spa with all the mod cons...

Simon Turl: The biker who gives motorists a break

Roadchef's Harley-riding boss is investing in the future

Ask the Traveller: Canada

We are going to Canada. We chose not to fly BA from Heathrow because we felt they were unreliable. But we want to fly down from Newcastle and our only choice is BA. If BA cancels on the day we will miss our connection. What do we do? S Dixon, Northumberland

Deborah Ross: Please will you buy my novelty book?

If you ask me...

Business Diary: A big thank you, Travelodge-style

At some companies, long-serving staff can expect a decent reward when they hit particularly significant milestones: a decent cash bonus, say, or at the very least a carriage clock. So spare a thought for Travelodge's two longest-serving staff – Judith Harper and Joan Cable – who respectively have 25 and 23 years of service. Their reward was to help chief executive Grant Hearn unveil a commemorative plaque at The A38 Burton Northbound Travelodge, the company's first outlet, which also happens to be 25 years old this week.

V&A brings the spirit of Bilbao to Dundee

Dundee might not be the first place you'd think to open a new cultural institution. Paris, yes, Venice, definitely, but not Dundee, home of marmalade, Dennis the Menace, and little else.

Business Diary: Bloomsbury turns off the volume

Strange goings on at Bloomsbury Publishing, whose staff last week posted a video of themselves singing along to "Small Town Girl", the Journey track, on YouTube – much to the amusement of folk on Twitter. Now the video has mysteriously disappeared. Did the Harry Potter publisher take suggestions that their employees had too much time on their hands rather too seriously?

Cheating newlywed denies murdering wife

A cheating newlywed accused of murdering his wife never seriously considered leaving her, a court heard today.

Leading article: Guessing game

So what will you do with the time you save? The world's most famous search engine – so famous it has gone from being a noun to a verb – yesterday launched Google Instant. This new gizmo starts to display search results as soon as you begin to type a word without waiting for you to complete your word or phrase. The company suggests that its latest feature could cut between two and five seconds from the average web search. This, at present, lasts 24 seconds – nine of them taken up by typing and 15 in then selecting the desired result. The new service will predict what you are going to type based on an aggregate of the world's most popular searches. But soon – and this is really creepy – it will start to remember the kinds of things you are interested in and offer guesses based on your past behaviour.

Mark Leftly: Seven reasons to be cheerful, plus Asil Nadir for fun

Just don't worry about the FTSE 100 or talk of double-dip recession – the good times are back

Business Diary: Rogers slams Ben's pawn shop

It doesn't look as if Jim Rogers, the investment guru who famously moved to Singapore after deciding Asia offered more opportunities than the West, plans on changing his bearish outlook for the US any time soon. "We have [Ben] Bernanke, who is running the Federal Reserve, who does not know what he is doing," he complains. "The man is taking $400bn on to the Federal Reserve balance sheets – of dicey loans, bad debt. I mean he is turning the Federal Reserve into a pawn shop." An enraged Rogers concludes: "Some day somebody has to pay for this and you know who this somebody is – my little girl, you, me." Get that man a blood pressure tablet.

No-frills hotels arrive in the UK (it's even extra for a clean room)

It's a common calamity. You book yourself into a cheap hotel, spread out, relax and reward yourself for your thrifty choice of lodging by assailing the mini-bar. The following morning, you come to pay the bill and feign surprise when you realise you've trebled your outgoings – the chilled peanuts, whiskey miniatures and rock-hard chocolate bars.

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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
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine