News New Scotland Yard, the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police

Deal raises fears of 'creeping privatisation' of the police

£1,099 - BA Holidays

Travel challenge

A city break in Cape Town

Letters: A missive from Sir Richard Branson

This letter appears in the Monday 14th October edition of the Independent

Sir Richard Branson lifted his Harris Tweed Kilt at Edinburgh airport in April to launch the new route from London

Virgin domestic flights a ‘disaster’ as passengers stick with no-frills rivals

Flights branded as 'Little Red' have experienced low sales

Piers Morgan thinks he's a better interviewer than his rivals

Piers Morgan: I'm a better interviewer than Jonathan Ross, Graham Norton and Alan Carr

The former Britain's Got Talent judge isn't known for his modesty

Virgin Trains is set to refresh its entire fleet of locomotives to get rid of their pervasive toilet smell

Virgin Trains set for £3.5m refurbishment – to remove smell from corridors

Richard Branson’s rail franchise set to work with the Government to finally deal with problem of unexplained spreading toilet odour

Loadsatalent: Sting, Paula Yates and Jools Holland on the set of ‘The Tube’

Now that's what I call music...

A raft of tantalising comebacks and a new radio show are testament to the fact that we're finally recognising the Eighties for what it was: a decade of peerless pop, says Pierre Perrone

Proposed new rules on pilots’ working hours could lead to air crews flying while 'dangerously fatigued', union officials have warned

British pilots will be ‘dangerously fatigued’ under proposed EU law, says union

Proposed new rules on pilots’ working hours could lead to air crews flying while “dangerously fatigued”, union officials have warned ahead of a key vote by MEPs.

Travel agenda

From holiday snaps apps and photography workshops to watching wolves in Ethiopia

Branson prepares for blast-off: 700 tickets for Virgin Galactic spaceflights sold

Virgin Group proprietor says his commercial space tours will begin within a ‘matter of months’

Virgin Media has teamed up with Netflix to pilot its on-demand streaming service to TiVo box subscribers

Virgin Media pilots Netflix for TV subscribers

The cable firm will send letters this week inviting 40,000 of its TiVo set-top box subscribers to download the new Netflix TV app

A pedigree Maine Coon cat ... but trying to buy one on the internet led to one reader narrowly escaping being conned

Questions of Cash: Why this website offer for a pedigree cat looks like a con

Q I found pedigree Maine Coon cats available on the Dodo.ie website that were being given away to a good home. I responded and received emails from the person giving them away, who lives in County Mayo, which was near enough for me to meet the person, check the kittens were OK and collect them. At the last minute, the person said that because of family circumstances she had to go to the Isle of Man, so would have to ship the kittens to us from there, but would only charge the shipping costs and for the pedigree certification. This would cost more than £200 and seemed odd. I looked up the person, Dora Antoinette, on the internet and found that she had a Facebook page. The same face on the Facebook page appeared on her emails, so things looked all right. But I then did another online search and found that the photos of the kittens in the advertisement had been lifted from a website about Maine Coon cats. Is this a scam? ZW, Northern Ireland.

Questions of Cash: Don't want direct debit? Sorry, but Virgin Media can't answer the call

Q. I wrote to Virgin Media in February requesting details of its charges, which are not provided in the company's monthly statements.

National Rail, which is in charge of rail infrastructure, has been set a minimum punctuality target for the first time

Nearly one in three of Britain’s trains are late according to strict new National Rail statistics

Delays as small as a minute are recorded as regulator sets arrival targets for first time

The Sport Matrix: Friday 16 August 2013

Spurs accept Bale will be out until end of August

As Brazil hots up for next year's World Cup, Spanish carrier Air Europa has announced that it will start flying from Madrid to Sao Paulo on 16 December

Travel agenda

Where to go and what to know

Career Services

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