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Last night games:

It's a quiet life in Benidorm

Cheap, warm and quiet, Benidorm isn't so bad out of season. And when you tire of the third-rate entertainers you can always escape to the nearby mountains. Matt Fletcher joins the fiftysomethings on the Costa Blanca

Woman dies in `satanic ritual'

A BELGIAN woman aged 35 died near the town of Alicante in southern Spain after being subjected to ritual satanic abuse in her own home, Spanish police said yesterday. Her Spanish husband was among four suspects detained in connection with the death, apparently caused by a ritual attempt to drive evil spirits from her body.

Letter: Battle of smoke

Sir: Jean-Marc Evans (letter, 10 October) complains that not paying one's fare on a bus incurs only a pounds 10 fine, whereas smoking is penalised with a pounds 1,000 fine. He ignores the fact that cigarette smoke, unlike fare- dodging, can be fatal to other people as well as the smoker.

Letter: Cannabis trials

Sir: In the 1960s, when I was in bed with flu, four of my sixth- form pupils arrived to ask how I was. They put four large, beautifully rolled joints on my bedside table and wished me well.

A pair of playas

One traveller, two trips. Simon Calder visited the Costa Blanca's star resort as a package tourist, and independently

Shena Mackay

It's crushingly hot, 40C, and the children look like little legionnaires in their pink-and-yellow caps with flaps to protect the backs of their necks. We are staying in one of a row of six blindingly white Moorish houses on the beach, with pillars supporting the flat roofs over the tiled verandas. There are six of us, Gill and Juan, their bilingual daughters Gabriela, 5, and Rebeca, 3, another friend and I. Gill and Juan, who live at Rocafort, a few kilometres from Valencia, have rented this house on the Playa Almarda for a couple of weeks. Three steps down from the veranda, and you are on burning sand glittering with mauve flowers, sea holly and white, empty snail shells so light that a breath blows them from your hand. A prickly pear, succulent and spiky, sprawls its fruit and orange- red tufts against a wall at the back, and palm trees catch the setting sun. The sea, shelving sharply from smooth oval pebbles of purple and agate, pulls to the left, so that anything it takes is cast up farther along the shore. At least, beach balls, flip-flops and plastic detritus are; my spectacles, falling when I bent to wash sand from my legs, seem lost for ever. Gabriela, a video buff and word-perfect on The Little Mermaid, thinks a mermaid has got them - so, somewhere on a rock off the Spanish Main, there is a person with a scaly tail in a pair of Varilux lenses.

city slicker Valencia

Valencia is currently celebrating the annual Fallas Festival, one of Europe's most important festivities. There are parades and fireworks, with the climax tomorrow night at midnight

Leading Article: Valencia's message to Brighton

Britain's political parties, not to mention its bemused voters, may wish that the tortuous issue of a single European currency would simply go away. Until this weekend that outcome seemed possible. Amid German fears of losing the mark's stability, French difficulties in meeting the requirements of monetary union and British Euro-scepticism, time travel a la Stephen Hawking might seem as likely as sterling's disappearance.

Hijack ends

Three Algerian policemen who hijacked an airliner to Spain yesterday to get out of their own country surrendered to authorities after almost five hours of negotiations, officials said, Reuter reports from Alicante. The Alicante civil governor, Alfonso Chave, said the three men would face normal legal procedures for their actions. Because of international agreements there was no question of them being given political asylum in Spain, he said.

Travel: Seatless down in Alicante: Last week Simon Calder got lucky. This week the bucket-shop bogey took revenge

IT WAS too good to last - and, sure enough, the bogey of bucket-shop travel took a swift and harsh revenge. Frank Barrett's column last week reported my surprise and immense good fortune at having a wad of crisp pounds 20 notes pressed into my palm by British Rail. I had missed my flight from Stansted to Paris because of a substantial train delay - and the money was BR's immediate response.

Valencia crowd cry 'Bully for Gitanito'

MADRID - 'Once upon a time there was a little white bull . . . ' Anyone old enough to remember Tommy Steele's tear-jerking hit will be happy to know that, even in real-life Spain, a bull can sometimes walk away if not victorious, at least with a noble draw, writes Phil Davison.
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Languedoc Roussillon
Marrakesh & the Atlas Mountains
The Jura Mountains
Dubrovnik & the Dalmatian Coast
Prices correct as of 17 September 2014
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam