News The third test flight of the commercial spaceship took it to a record 71,000 feet

The firm hopes to take first ever tourists to space later this year. Onboard cameras were able to capture its rocket-powered engine, the first time it has been used

Spend Christmas Day at 37,000 feet – and save a fortune

Surge in number of travellers taking advantage of cheap fares if you fly on the 25th

Business Diary: French take on old enemy

Nicolas Sarkozy doesn't want for support at home after his falling-out with the rosbifs. The radio pundits are lining up behind him. One report at the weekend on Man United's shock Champion's League exit was prefaced by "and David Cameron isn't the only English Euro exit this week". Then an item on Paul McCartney, who had been rude at a concert about the French Government's insistence that meat must stay on school menus, ended with the presenter moaning about "another Brit trying to tell us what to do".

Britons stuck in the US face a long wait to come home

Thousands of British holidaymakers stranded in New York and other US cities could face a long wait to get home. Although Hurricane Irene has now been downgraded to a tropical storm, the threat of severe flooding means that delays may continue after it has passed. Meanwhile, the lack of spare seats on flights in the peak holiday season means the backlog of stranded passengers could take many days to clear.

Virgin Atlantic to launch 'weep warning' gimmick on films

Sir Richard Branson's airline Virgin Atlantic is to put "weep warnings" on tearjerker film shown on flights.

Business Diary: Proof that some still dress properly

Charles Tyrwhitt, the menswear retailer that specialises in City boys, has a bit of news to restore one's faith in tradition and standards during these troubled times. Sales of pocket squares are up 48 per cent at its shops and it reckons the trend will continue, with the actor Daniel Craig having modelled the look at a recent premiere. "Although we have witnessed a huge rise in the number of open-neck shirts in the workplace, it seems that a touch of formality is creeping back," the shop says. Thank heavens for that.

David Prosser: Virgin still looks lonely but there is no sign of a partner

Outlook It has not been a bad few days for Virgin Atlantic. On Tuesday, Sir Richard Branson's airline announced it had been successful in heading off a potentially humiliating strike by its pilots. Yesterday, Virgin was able to reveal it has returned to the black over the year just gone. All very satisfactory, one might think.

Virgin back in profit despite stiff headwinds

Virgin Atlantic returned to cruising speed yesterday as the airline's finances soared back into the black despite taking a £40m hit from the ash cloud and winter cold snap.

Virgin pilots accept new pay offer

Pilots with Sir Richard Branson's airline, Virgin Atlantic, have voted to accept a pay offer - finally ending the prospect of strike action.

Virgin seeks 'fairer' departure tax arrangements

The Air Passenger Duty (APD) airport departure tax is resulting in long-haul flight passengers subsidising short-haul travel by £222 million a year, Virgin Atlantic Airways said today.

Union lifts strike threat at Virgin Atlantic

The threat of a damaging pilots' strike at Virgin Atlantic was lifted last night. The pilots union, Balpa, said it had "secured an offer" from the airline which would be put to a ballot.

Turbulent times for Branson's racing mate

Never one to duck a challenge, the man at the throttle tells Sarah Arnott how he plans to keep Virgin Atlantic above the clouds

Virgin boss Branson warns pilots over strikes

A pilots' strike on Virgin Atlantic would leave "an indelible scar on the company", the airline's boss Sir Richard Branson said today.

After decades flying high, Branson hits turbulence

As crew plan first ever walk-out, Simon Calder on what the dispute means for the airline

Virgin pilots vote for action

Virgin Atlantic pilots have voted to go on strike in a row over pay for the first time in the company's history, raising the threat of summer walkouts which would cause travel chaos.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?