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

Voices
Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014
voices

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
Russell Brand at an anti-austerity march in June
peopleActor and comedian says 'there's no point doing it if you're not'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

News
news

Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains

Life and Style
tech

Company says data is only collected under 'temporary' identities that are discarded every 15 minutes

News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Vietnam & Cambodia
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Bruges
India & Nepal
Japan
Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album