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

Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
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Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
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Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
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Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
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Arts and Entertainment
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Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
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Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
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The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
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Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
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Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable