The column that gives the global picture

Destination of the week: the British invasion of Berlin

For decades, the only airlines allowed to fly from the UK to Berlin were Aeroflot, Air France, British Airways and Pan Am, because of the four-power agreement about access to the divided city. From next summer, though, the skies over the former East Berlin will be turning orange: easyJet (0870 600 0000, is coming to town, with links from four UK cities to the German capital.

The no-frills airline will serve Schönefeld airport, in the former German Democratic Republic, rather than Tegel in the old West Berlin.

Flights from Luton to Berlin start on 1 May 2004, with fares of £31 return widely available. Over the following month, routes from Bristol, Liverpool and Newcastle will be added - all currently on sale for as little as £41 return. With DBA - which easyJet used to manage - about to start flying between Gatwick and Tegel, fares between Britain and Berlin are likely to be far lower than in the Eighties.

Warning of the week: West Nile Fever is spreading across North America

This unpleasant and sometimes fatal viral infection is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine. According to the US Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, more than 4,000 cases have been reported in the US this year.

The Midwest is most affected, with nearly 900 cases in Illinois and more than 600 in Michigan. In these states the fever has caused 64 and 51 deaths respectively. In Canada, 1,256 cases have been reported.

The travel medicine specialist Masta (09068 224 100, says that West Nile Fever has now spread into northern Mexico, with cases reported in Chihuahua and Sonora.

Bargain of the week: Italian connections

Next summer, British Airways (0870 850 9 850, is to launch three new services from Gatwick to destinations in Italy that have previously not had non-stop scheduled flights from the UK. From 30 April, BA will fly to Bari, opening up the Puglia region. On May Day, services start to the southern Sardinian city of Cagliari, which will offer an alternative to Ryanair's flights to Alghero in the north of the island. And from 2 May, the first scheduled flights to Catania in eastern Sicily begin. So why is this a bargain? Because for the next four days, until Tuesday, you can book flights for £119 return to Bari and £129 return to Catania and Cagliari. As always, you pay a supplement if you do not book online.