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

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home