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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
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence