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.

Nguyen Chi Thien: Dissident poet

Nguyen Chi Thien, who died on 2 October aged 73 at a hospital in Santa Ana, California, was a Vietnamese dissident poet who spent nearly 30 years in communist prisons in his native country. Thien had contracted tuberculosis while in Vietnamese prison, and doctors were investigating a large mass in his lung in the days before he died.

£2,249 - Travelbag: Includes Vietnam Airlines flights from Gatwick to Bangkok via Hanoi or Saigon and B&B at the Centara Hotel, Pattaya. “The family studios are a fantastic choice due to the spacious layout, dedicated children’s area and bunk beds,” says Anna Streatfeild (0871 703 4240; travelbag.co.uk).

Travel Challenge: Half-term Thailand

Each week, we invite three companies to offer us their best deal for a specific break. Today: a holiday for a family of four in Thailand during the October half term. Prices are for two adults and two children. Each package includes a week's accommodation, transfers and flights from the UK on either Saturday 27 or Sunday 28 October.

The Outsiders, By Gerald Seymour

In this newspaper, the novelist Gerald Seymour was asked which fictional character he thought he most resembled. His answer: "One of those johnnies who sent agents off in the early Le Carré stories but stays on the safe side of the border".

All smiles at the US-Vietnam cleanup agreement

The terrible legacy of Agent Orange

Forty years after war ended, Washington begins decontamination of worst-affected areas in Vietnam

Vietnam airline fined for in-flight bikini show

Bored by in-flight safety demos? A group of bikini-clad beauty queens in Vietnam recently strutted through a packed aeroplane as dance music blasted a song with the lyric “I'm crazy for banana.”

US to clean up Agent Orange in Vietnam

The US has begun a landmark project to clean up a dangerous chemical left from the defoliant Agent Orange, 50 years after American planes first sprayed it on Vietnam's jungles to destroy enemy cover.

Marathon speech by Cambodian PM

Asia's longest-serving ruler has set what appears to be a personal record for his longest public speech: five hours, 20 minutes.

Author E L James is looking to adapt her best-selling erotic novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, for the big screen

Fifty Shades is UK's best-selling book of all time

E L James' Fifty Shades of Grey has sold more than 5.3m copies making it the best-selling British book of all time, according to figures released by its publisher.

Hilary Clinton is looking forward to taking a break from politics

Jet-set diplomacy: globe-trotting Hillary Clinton breaks travel record

102 nations visited, 843, 839 miles flown. No wonder the tireless Secretary of State wants a break

The Weekend's Viewing: The World’s Most Dangerous Roads, Sun, BBC2
Engineering Giants: Jumbo Jet Strip-Down, Sun, BBC2

The World's Most Dangerous Roads might be the most quintessential Sunday evening programme ever made.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton makes historic visit to Laos

Hillary Clinton returned to the scene of the one of the darkest episodes of US foreign policy when she visited Laos and saw first-hand the aftermath of America’s “secret war” in which around two million tonnes of bombs were dropped on the country.

Remembrance: Australian war memorials in France,

Aboriginals still fighting for justice

Like other indigenous families, the Lovetts sent their sons to war but were thrown off their own land when they returned

A million attend Pope's open-air Milan Mass

Pope Benedict XVI has celebrated an open-air Mass for a million followers, capping three days of activities in Milan, Italy, aimed at showing support for the family.

The fortunes of Vietnam’s saola, right, contrast sharply with those of Britain’s rarest butterfly, the large blue, above, which is going from strength to strength

Antelope first seen 20 years ago is on brink of extinction

Vietnam's rare mammals may be sliding towards extinction, but Britain's rarest butterfly is going from strength to strength, a series of contrasting announcements makes clear today.

Faas: he had to persuade his bosses to run some pictures from Vietnam

Horst Faas: Photographer who brought home to Americans the horrors of the Vietnam war

His protégés were responsible for some of the most memorable pictures from South-east Asia

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Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
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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
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
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