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Cutbacks have left the UK without a single warship specifically tasked with protecting the country's shores for the past month, the Ministry of Defence confirmed today.

UK ships to be armed to ward off Somali piracy

Merchant shipping owners warned yesterday that a policy to allow British vessels sailing off Somalia to carry armed guards is at best a "short-term" measure and could lead to an escalation of violence by pirates.

Prince offers $1m to seize Israelis

A Saudi prince has increased a reward to $1m for the capture of any Israeli soldier to be swapped for Palestinian prisoners.

Protesters have taken to the streets to show their increasing anger at Egypt's ruling generals

HSBC accused of helping Egypt generals stifle dissent

Human rights groups and NGOs have accused HSBC bank of colluding in a campaign of intimidation which they say is being waged against them by Egypt’s ruling military council.

Assad: Intervention in Syria will cause 'earthquake'

Syrian president Bashar Assad has warned Western intervention against his regime would cause an "earthquake" that would "burn the whole region".

UK ships will be able to carry armed guards - Cameron

British merchant ships sailing off the coast of Somalia will soon be able to carry armed guards to ward off pirate attacks, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Sunday.

Patrick Cockburn: The Army won't face the truth about Afghanistan and Iraq

World View: Both British campaigns were ill-conceived and poorly executed: military defeats dressed up as victory. And much of the blame lies with the generals

Kenya to stay in Somalia until 'threat' is gone

Kenyan troops will stay in southern Somalia until Kenyans feel safe again, the chief of Kenya's armed forces said today, raising questions about whether Kenya risks becoming bogged down in an open-ended occupation of its war-ravaged neighbour.

Syria cracks down on deadly protests

The Syrian opposition's two main activist groups, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordinating Committees, said shells slammed into the Baba Amr district of Homs.

Robert Fisk: What the killing of Gaddafi means to Syria

Two days before Gaddafi was murdered, I was reading the morning newspapers in Beirut and discovered a remarkable story on most front pages.

48 hours: Agadir, Morocco

New flights, balmy days and absorbing culture make this Moroccan city an enticing option. By Nick Boulos

Further unrest in town that sparked Arab Spring

The leader of the Islamist party that won Tunisia's first free election appealed for calm yesterday in the town where the Arab Spring began – and accused forces linked to the ousted president of fanning violence there.

Syrian security forces 'kill 30 protesters'

Syrian security forces opened fire on protesters and hunted them down in house-to-house raids, killing about 30 people, activists said today.

Car bomb kills anti-terror chief in Yemen

A car bomb killed the head of the anti-terror force in Yemen's restive southern Abyan province, a Yemeni security official said.

Court 'in talks with Gaddafi son'

The International Criminal Court is in indirect negotiations with Muammar Gaddafi's son about his possible surrender for trial, the chief prosecutor said today.

Profits up at French oil firm Total

Soaring crude prices have boosted French oil firm Total's third-quarter profits despite a weak dollar.

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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
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen