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This millennium, Britain’s dragonfly contingent has been in the throes of revolution. Several sparkling species have crossed the sea to start colonising the UK. In this ambitious itinerary, you might see up to seven magnificent dragonflies unknown in Britain two decades previously.

The former Liberal Democrat party leader Paddy Ashdown said he was 'very upset' after being involved in a fatal three-vehicle collision

Paddy Ashdown car crash: Former Lib Dem leader involved in accident which killed a 49-year-old man

Lord Ashdown said he was left ‘very upset’ after being involved in fatal incident

Syrian President Bashar Assad visits army and security soldiers wounded in the civil war at al-Youssef al-Azmah Hospital in Damascus

Syria conflict: Hospitals fill up with wounded soldiers as civil war drags on

Fighting in the country is now thought to have claimed 130,000 lives. But what about those who lived, yet suffered life-changing injuries? Patrick Cockburn meets some of those survivors in Damascus

Beak season: Pink-footed geese are found inland

Wildlife Weekend: Wintering birds in the Kingdom of Fife

Spend most of the first day in Largo Bay, south-west of Kirkcaldy. There may be no finer location to watch the wintering seaduck for which Scotland is renowned. If the tide is high and the sun shining, start with the light behind you at the bay’s eastern edge, Ruddon’s Point. Look westwards for dense black rafts of scoters, mainly common scoter. A flash of white wings draws your attention to velvet scoters secreted among them. Check the flock carefully and you could even see surf scoter. There is no more regular British site for this North American visitor.

Taxi firm in Middlesbrough attacked for refusing to carry disabled passengers

Owner of largest firm in the North East of England concedes move is 'morally wrong' but he says had no choice but to act after local authority warns operators over charging disabled passengers extra

Voices in Danger: For putting on a play, Carlos Santos was tortured by an El Salvador death squad

“I still have the scars on my hands from when I was hung from the roof”

High-end burger restaurants such as the Garage Grill in Tehran have enjoyed huge success in recent months

Nothing quite like a McAli’s burger... Iran’s foodies opt for taste of America with a glut of high-end grill restaurants in Tehran

Upmarket grills adorned with Americana are proving a hit in wealthy areas, finds Jason Rezaian in Tehran

A Cuban attempts to repair his old car in Havana on the day the free sale of cars in Cuba was officially authorized.

Cubans allowed to buy new and used cars - but at hugely inflated prices

Buyers are faced with a 400 per cent mark-up

A Sunni Muslim fighter looks at a burning police vehicle during clashes in Ramadi

Iraqis battle al-Qa'ida militant uprising in Ramadi and Fallujah

Iraqi security forces and allied tribesmen battled on Thursday to put down al-Qa'ida-linked gunmen who, in a coordinated surge, ran rampant in two of the country's main Sunni cities, overrunning police stations and sweeping through the streets, emboldened by mounting sectarian tensions between minority Sunnis and the Shiite-led government.

A holiday with sparkle: Get into the festive spirit with a visit to Europe's finest spots for fizz

It's easier than ever to cut straight to the source of Europe's wine regions

Ethan Couch from Texas has been sentenced to ten years probation after mowing down four pedestrians while drunk

Ethan Couch: Texas quadruple murderer – or a victim of ‘affluenza’?

Texan teen given parole after mowing down four people while drunk – but his family is so wealthy he believed his actions had no consequences

Sean Emmett with Abbie before tragedy struck

Superbike racer arrested on UK return after wife died in Dubai

Sean Emmett had been unable to leave the United Arab Emirates for 10 months as police had confiscated his passport following the death of his wife, who fell several floors from a hotel

Peter Higgs is to be honoured with a new £11m space technology centre named after him

Autumn Statement 2013: New space technology centre to be named after Peter Higgs, the father of the 'God particle'

Chancellor announces new £11m 'Higgs Centre for Innovation'

Cobalt-60 theft: Lorry transporting radioactive cargo found EMPTY in Mexico, but hijackers expected to die within days

Radiation levels could be so intense that criminals only have days to live

Autumn Statement 2013: Car tax disc scrapped after 93 years

For more than 90 years, all vehicles on British roads have been required to display a tax disc.

Paul Walker death: Star of Fast & Furious films killed in Los Angeles car crash

The other victim of the crash was professional race car driver Roger Rodas

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee