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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
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 12 March 2015
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat