News

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

Building craze threatens to end Lanzarote's biosphere status

Many tourists travel to Lanzarote for nothing more than a sunny beach and a pitcher of sangria with a cliff-top view. But the Spanish Canary Island is also a Unesco biosphere site: an arid stretch of lava fields, salt marshes and coastal mountains where high-rises are taboo. And for decades, the island's elegant-and-ecological style of tourism defied the construction craze of its wilder island neighbours, like Gran Canaria.

'Strange bones' in Colchester Egyptian Mummy

The skull of an ancient Egyptian mummy in Colchester is packed with 'strange bones', a CT-scan has revealed. The scan on 2,500-year-old Lady Ta-Hathor yesterday also revealed an odd bundle between her thighs, thought to be the remains of her organs.

UN delays prize funded by dictator

Unesco, the United Nations' culture and education agency, has delayed awarding a prize for life sciences named after the leader of Equatorial Guinea, whose government has a reputation for corruption and human rights abuses.

Colchester to make UNESCO's elite World Heritage list?

The Pyramids, Great Wall of China, Stonehenge and...Colchester? The Essex town is preparing an audacious bid to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and it's not as unlikely as it sounds. Destination Colchester, a group of local business owners and heritage enthusiasts, is preparing a bid to be entered onto a tentative list of the UK's heritage sites. If the bid, due next Friday, is successful, Colchester could find itself inscribed alongside famous British landmarks like Bath Spa, Hadrian's Wall and the Tower of London.

Lauren Child: These childish things

As the phenomenally successful Charlie and Lola prepare to celebrate their 10th birthday, their creator is setting her sights on further adventures in design. Susie Mesure meets Lauren Child

Ugandan royal tomb fire stokes tensions between government and king

Ugandan forces shoot at protesters trying to block President from historic site

Best for getting lost: Fez

Every great city is entirely itself and nowhere else. At the same time, they're all like ... somewhere. Somewhere that doesn't exist. A Platonic copy, perhaps; an embodiment of the idea of the city, whatever that may be. Morocco has several versions – all different – but in the end Tangier, Rabat and Marrakesh seem to me just rehearsals for the world's great masterpiece, Fez. In particular, the Bali Medina, the walled Old City, of Fez. The traditional Great City – traditional now, in our post-Enlightenment eyes – is a place of visual harmony, of vistas and prospects, squares, spires and domes. Old Fez is the exact opposite. The alleyways of the medina are so sinuous, straitened and overbuilt that there is, quite literally, no view. You never know what is around the next corner as it tilts down towards the river. You barely know where the next corner is. There is no angle that can lead the eye upwards more than 30ft. The rooflines are a mystery. The medina from the air reveals nothing about the medina on the ground. The eye is made useless.

Unesco criticised over dictator's $300,000 prize

A Human rights group has accused Unesco of gross hypocrisy for its collaboration with Equatorial Guinea's dictator of 30 years, Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

English voyager finds whales in Egyptian desert

Driving through the desert in search of whales sounds counterproductive, but I had been assured that if I hired a jeep and drove seventy kilometres from Egypt’s Faiyum Oasis out into the Sahara this is indeed what I would find. If this was a ruse it was a clever one, and UNESCO were in on it.

Botched facelift puts Bolivian pyramid at risk

Repair work may cause renowned site to be struck off World Heritage list

Boyd Tonkin: The artist-minister is painted into a corner

The Week In Books

Book-burning threat costs Egypt Unesco leadership

The suspense-laden, drawn-out race to lead the UN agency for culture and education ended yesterday with a career diplomat from Bulgaria beating an Egyptian candidate whose one-time threat to burn Israeli books had galvanised opposition.

Finalists named for '7 Wonders of Nature' poll

The Grand Canyon and the Great Barrier Reef are competing with 26 other spectacular natural landmarks in the final phase of the global poll to choose the "New 7 Wonders of Nature," organisers said today.

Travel By Numbers: World Heritage sites

As the longest aqueduct in Britain joins Unesco's premier league of global attractions, Ben Ross assesses the dimensions of the list's other highlights

Aqueduct named as World Heritage Site

A 200-year-old aqueduct in North Wales has been named as Britain's newest World Heritage Site.

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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there