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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.

Yule love it: seasonal stalls at the Grote Markt in Bruges

A winter's tale in Bruges

This medieval Belgian city provides the perfect setting for Christmas markets and other festive activities, says Katy Guest

Suds and solidarity: Down on the picket lines with University of London cleaning staff

Outsourced staff, most of them foreign, are striking over pay and conditions

Google Street View update helps you find your way through the airport - not just to it

16 international airports and over 50 train and subway stations are included

In Bruges: indulge at the De Tuilerieen hotel

Deals of the week

Under £200... Celebrate New Year's Eve in style

BA has a range of deals on two-night breaks over New Year's Eve, departing from Heathrow. On 31 December, there's a stay at the Ballsbridge Hotel in Dublin for £194pp. Or, hop across to Brussels, where a stay at the Floris Avenue Hotel on 30 December is £197pp. ba.com

Police stopping cyclists is only helpful if they're actually doing something wrong

I had become the latest beneficiary of the Metropolitan Police’s response to a well-publicised concentration of cyclist deaths in the capital

Birmingham hit-and-run: 75-year-old man dies after being struck by large vehicle

A 75-year-old man found fatally injured in a Birmingham street is believed to have been a victim of a hit-and-run, police have said.

Book review: Hatching twitter, By @Nick Bilton

Twitter's creation story is told in overblown prose

Shaving, brushing teeth and using iPads: Distracted motorists caught on camera

Five-day operation across the motorways of Hampshire and the Thames Valley resulted in 198 motorists being prosecuted

Branston Pickle lorry crashes near Cheddar

It is a headline that may spread a little happiness: a lorry transporting jars of Branston Pickle has crashed - just a few miles away from Cheddar.

A police pulls a car over as part of a drive to inform motorists of the risk of using a phone while driving

Motorist caught shaving while at wheel in crackdown on distracted drivers

A crackdown on distracted drivers caught one motorist having a shave using a razor and a water bottle and a woman doing her make-up in the rear view mirror while on a motorway.

The immersive world that games like GTA 5 offer is the appeal, not the violence

Grand Theft Auto is a razor sharp satire of modern American culture

Postcard from... Padua

Landlords are legally obliged to have the gas supply and any gas appliances in their properties checked every year

Consumer Rights: A guarantor can be a friend
indeed if you can’t get credit

Getting someone to be a backup for repayments may make all the difference in securing a loan 

Syria crisis: Rebels harness technology to conflict

In recent weeks, attention in Syria has been on the use of chemical weapons but on Sunday, Mohammed Abdellah, a Reuters photographer, captured the rebel fighters using an iPad to launch attacks.

Mark Cavendish in action on the Tour of Britain

Tour of Britain: Mark Cavendish claims Stage Four win with thrilling sprint finish that sees Sir Bradley Wiggin retain the yellow jersey

Manx Missile takes his first win of the Tour after peloton catches 11-man breakaway with just 1km to go

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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
Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks