Travel

Springtime, just before the new century began. As Laos is now the new Cambodia, Vietnam was then the new Thailand, and my girlfriend and I had arrived – with our backpacks – to see what all the fuss was about. The capital Hanoi had dazzled, and we were due to take the train 420 miles down the coast to Hué. We were late, though. We were always late.

The Vietnamese believe that three gods reside in each family's kitchen: two male gods and one female. According to their beliefs, the Kitchen God rides a red carp - which some say later transforms into a dragon - on his way to heaven in the 12th lunar month to deliver his annual report on the household's activities
A customs official with a recent seizure of rhino horn

Ferrari factor: How Vietnam's wealthy elite have made rhino horn worth its weight in gold

Customs officials in Thailand and Singapore seized £3.5m worth of rhino horn en route to Vietnam

The bounty marks an escalation in the fight against wildlife crime

$1m bounty on the ‘Pablo Escobar’ of animal trafficking's head

Reward targets Vixay Keosavang in new escalation of fight against this ‘lucrative’ crime

One minute interview: AL Kennedy

Where are you now and what can you see?

A child refugee from the northern province of Raqqa in Syria, reacts from the cold weather in a Syrian refugee camp beside the Lebanese border town of Arsal, in eastern Bekaa Valley

We must offer a place of safety to those fleeing the Syrian conflict

The UN has called on western governments to offer 30,000 resettlement places

Album review: Bruce Springsteen, 'High Hopes' (Columbia)

A few low notes but the Boss has still got it covered

The Liaoning docked at Dalian Port in December 2013

China's Liaoning aircraft carrier completes sea trials

Trial run was notable for near-collision with an American ship

Risner: he led the first flight of Operation Rolling Thunder

Brigadier General Robinson Risner: US airman who served in Korea and was decorated for his leadership of fellow prisoners of war in Vietnam

Long before he retired as a much-decorated brigadier general, Robbie Risner was one of the most celebrated pilots in the US Air Force. He was an ace in the Korean War, shooting down eight Russian-built MiG-15s, and received the Silver Star for a daring mid-air manoeuvre to steer a fellow pilot to safety. More than a decade later during the Vietnam War, he led the first flight of Operation Rolling Thunder, a high-intensity aerial bombing of North Vietnam. He received the Air Force Cross in 1965 for leading air strikes against a strategic bridge in North Vietnam. Later that month he was featured on the cover of Time magazine.

Turkey named as worst country for jailing journalists – again

More journalists have been jailed in Turkey than in any other country for the second consecutive year, followed closely by Iran and China, according to a media watchdog.

Elephant Appeal: No more deaths on the savannah... politicians must act

It’s not too late to do something, but it will be soon

Ronnie Wood for the Elephant Appeal: No more deaths on the savannah... politicians must act

I’m lucky, in a way. I’ve seen the devastation with my own eyes. The rotting carcasses with their heads removed, and the little orphaned babies. When crocodiles and lions kill elephants, they go for the babies, which is heartbreaking to watch when you see it on television. But poachers go for the biggest ones they can, and that means orphans.

5 ways elephants changed history: A brief history of stomping victories and disastrous reversals

It was the arrival of the cannon in the 19th century that finally heralded the end of elephants being used as an instrument of war. Until that time, from as early as 1000BC, they trampled across battlefields around the globe, through wars in places as far flung as Yemen and Sri Lanka.

Chinese students excelled in maths and reading, with the Shanghai region winning in both categories

The Pisa global league table overlooks cultural factors that incentivize learning

It is cultural norms in communities that orient children towards education

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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015