Monks' diaries help experts make climate forecast

Ancient weather records, including details gleaned from monks' diaries, are helping scientists work out how and why climates have changed over the past 500 years.

Picture of the Day: Red sky in the morning, pollution warning

This spectacular red sunrise observed yesterday morning over London has a scientific explanation. The same explanation also lends some support to the well-known piece of folklore saying that a red sky at night is a shepherd's delight, whereas a red sky in the morning is a sailor's warning.

Questions of cash: An all-inclusive holiday (extras not included)

Q. In May I booked an "all-inclusive Turkey" holiday for my wife and myself with Page and Moy, from the "2010 Holiday Sale" brochure.

Ryanair emerges from ash cloud

The budget airline Ryanair said yesterday it had responded to all the expense claims submitted after the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud disruption in the spring, although it remained in dispute with a number of passengers.

Queen of the underworld: Mary Beard is bringing the ancient city of Pompeii to life in a BBC documentary

Around lunchtime on 24 August AD79, the inhabitants of Pompeii on the Bay of Naples saw an astonishing sight: a column of smoke bursting into the sky from Vesuvius, the huge volcanic mountain that looms over the bay. According to an eyewitness, Pliny the Younger, writing 20 years after the event, the cloud reached nine miles in height (it resembled a fir tree, he said) and dropped burning ash upon the town.

Picture of the Day: All in a day's work

For some farmers collecting grass in the shadow of Indonesia's Mount Bromo, even a volcanic eruption fails to interrupt their working day. Spewing ashes and smoke as high as one kilometre into the atmosphere, the volcano appears not to bother the residents of Ngadisari village in eastern Java – indeed, they often scale the 2,329m tall cone to leave offerings at its crater. Nevertheless, the activity has caused the airport at the nearby city of Malang to close for five days due to fears it could cause engine trouble. Indonesia is used to such events – it has more active volcanoes than any other country in the world.

Indonesian volcano death toll rises past 320

The number of people killed in recent eruptions of Indonesia's most volatile volcano has risen to 324, officials said today.

First EasyJet dividend marks £99m profits rise

Low-cost airline easyJet celebrated a near-trebling in profits today by announcing plans for its first-ever dividend payment to shareholders.

Indonesian volcano death toll passes 150

The death toll from two weeks of eruptions from Indonesia's most volatile volcano passed 150 today.

Gas avalanche incinerates villagers after volcano blast

Searing heavy gas avalanched down an Indonesian volcano with a thunderous roar, torching houses and trees and incinerating villagers as they fled Mount Merapi's worst eruption in a century. Scores of bodies found yesterday raised the known death toll to 122.

Homes burn after fresh Indonesia eruption

Blistering gas from Indonesia's most volatile volcano spewed farther than expected today, incinerating houses at the edge of the danger zone, triggering chaotic evacuations and pushing the death toll in more than a week to nearly 100.

Fear that 'worst is yet to come' from Indonesian volcano

Towering clouds of hot ash gushed from the mouth of Indonesia's deadly volcano today, hours after its most explosive eruption in a week sent screaming women and children fleeing mountainside villages and emergency shelters.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
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You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
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Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
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Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

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Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
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