New Zealand volcano erupts

A New Zealand volcano erupted with a brief blast of dark ash today, forcing the cancellation of flights but causing no significant damage. Schoolchildren and dozens of other hikers who were walking on trails along the mountain's base were safe.

The Big Six

National Park retreats

Soil on Mars 'is like Hawaii'

Scientists say the Martian soil at NASA's Curiosity Rover's landing site contains minerals similar to that found on Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano.

That's enough 007 for me, thanks

Tales from the Water Cooler

Energy centre: Cliffs and cairns of the Snaefellsnes peninsula

Where to go in 2013: Iceland

Why go in 2013? A last chance to beat the crowds

What Obama could learn from Joe Biden

New York Times writer Maureen Dowd reckons that Barack Obama lost the vice-presidential debate last week - despite not being there. The combative style of both Joe Biden and Paul Ryan showed up his lacklustre performance of the week before. And as Dowd says: "The fact that one diffident debate by the president could throw his whole race into crisis shows that nobody madly loves Obama anymore. With his aloof presidency, he shook off the deep attachments from 2008, and now his support lacks intensity."

Snow news

'Missing' Icelandic tourist goes in search of herself

A woman on a visit to Iceland has managed to add new twist to the concept of "self-discovery" after taking part in a major mountain search operation for a lost tourist before admitting to police that she was the missing person everyone was looking for.

Steve Connor: This isn't just natural variation – it's caused by global warming

What people forget is that sea ice is not fixed to the ground, it is easily blown about

Portfolio: Dierk Maass

The Andean eco-region of the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve starts at 4,200m above sea level and covers more than 700,000 hectares in the far south-west of Bolivia.

Prom 21: Aldeburgh WO/Elder, ***; Prom 22: Keith/BBC Phil/Noseda, ****

Formed in Aldeburgh only a few weeks ago, and drawing in musicians from four continents, the Aldeburgh World Orchestra is the newest youth band to grace the Proms, and under Mark Elder’s direction it gave a noble account of Britten’s "Sinfonia da Requiem".

Inside the Thrihnukagigur volcano

Iceland: Step into the mouth of a volcano

Lisa Young clips on her safety line to descend deep into Iceland's Thrihnukagigur, which last erupted 4,000 years ago

Strong earthquake rocks Indonesia

A strong earthquake swayed tall buildings in Indonesia's capital today but caused no tsunami or apparent damage.

The huge volcanoes are fuelled by massive magma pools that build up deep beneath the ground.

Supervolcanoes that could destroy humanity 'may explode sooner than scientists thought'

Huge volcanoes second only to asteroid impact in terms of the devastation they would visit on the earth

12 bodies found near Indonesia jet crash site

Search teams found at least 12 bodies Friday near where a Russian-made jetliner crashed into the side of an Indonesian volcano while on a demonstration flight for potential buyers from airlines, an official said.

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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 15 May 2015
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine