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Kent dockyard loses out to Lake District national park as UK's next world heritage site

Mariachi, Mexico: As well as repetitive guitar riffs, Mexian Mariarchi music also teaches 'values of respect' to modern Mexicans

These shows really must go on (the UN insists on it)

You can eat all the tacos and drink all the Margaritas you want, but dinner isn't authentically Mexican until at least three Spanish-speaking men have appeared at the side of your table, singing in unison and strumming guitars.

The Church of the Nativity attracts two million visitors a year

Birthplace of Christ to get a new roof after centuries of disputes

When it comes to fixing the church roof, rarely has it been so difficult to reach agreement as at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. But, after a centuries-old stand-off between rival religious sects, it looks as if the reputed birthplace of Jesus may finally get the renovation it so badly needs.

The Church of the Nativity attracts two million visitors a year

O little church in Bethlehem – basilica decays as sects squabble over who pays

When it comes to fixing the church roof, rarely has it been so difficult to reach agreement as at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. But, after a centuries-old stand-off between rival religious sects, it looks as if the reputed birthplace of Jesus may finally get the renovation it so badly needs.

Liverpool's waterfront as it stands now

Unesco enters fight to preserve Mersey skyline

The Liverpool antique dealer who complained to Unesco about a billionaire Manx tax exile's plan for a 60-storey Shanghai Tower skyscraper on the Mersey is unrepentant.

Liverpool's waterfront as it stands now

Is Liverpool's world heritage status in ruins?

A billionaire's 60-storey skyscraper has prompted Unesco to reconsider the honour it granted the city

Boyd Tonkin: New versions of pastoral

The week in books

Leading article: The best sort of invasion

Intervention on the far side of the world has a controversial reputation. Over the last 20 years passionate supporters and opponents have clashed over the morality of the actions. However the announcement of the launching of a task force, a ship and two helicopters carrying lethal weapons, setting out for the Pacific makes a strong case for its potential efficacy.

Picture of the Day: Ruins of lost kingdom threatened from below

The ruined city of Hampi, a Unesco world heritage site and one of the most important archaeological locations in southern India, is under severe threat, experts have warned. Illegal quarrying and blasting have severely damaged some of the remains and pushed others to the verge of collapse.

Alpine villagers bewildered as China clones their home

The idyllic Austrian village of Hallstatt boasts fine traditional wooden chalets, ancient churches and breathtaking panoramic views over its own lake and the surrounding snow-capped Alps: "Many describe it as the most beautiful lakeside village in the world," insists the local tourist board.

Inky ghosts at the United Nation's hi-tech book feast

When the United Nations cultural agency invited global experts to explore the next chapter for books, did the view of the future move from analogue to digital clarity? Boyd Tonkin reports from Italy

From lost city of the Incas to tourist trap in 100 years

The huge number of people who visit Machu Picchu every year are threatening the site's very survival. Simeon Tegel reports

Arifa Akbar: Death-defying authors in a digital age

The week in books

Ancient site on heritage list

The spectacular Jarlshof archaeological dig in the Shetland Islands is one of 11 sites on a list for consideration for Unesco world heritage status. The Jarlshof excavations have revealed evidence of human habitation stretching from the Bronze Age to the 17th Century. Also on the list are the UK Overseas Territories of St Helena in the South Atlantic and the Turks and Caicos Islands Ben Curtis/pa

Birds banned to preserve Malaysian buildings

Tens of thousands of birds cultivated for their edible nests are being banned from the capital of a Malaysian tourist island after the UN cultural agency warned that the business endangered efforts to preserve historical buildings.

Bamiyan Buddha may be restored

German scientists have said it may be possible to reconstruct the smaller of two giant 1,500-year-old Bamiyan Buddha statues blown up by the Taliban in Afghanistan 10 years ago, which prompted a worldwide outcry.

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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
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
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
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
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago