The column that gives the global picture

Bargain of the week: cut-price flat fares in Germany

The government in Berlin wants to tempt travellers off the autobahn, offering a range of discount fares on the rail network. An unlimited-travel day ticket, costing €21 (£13), is available for each region of the country. The ticket is valid from 9am on weekdays (but not for express trains). It covers buses, trams and U-bahns in major cities as well. For any journey of 60 miles or more the ticket pays dividends. Amazingly, one ticket can be shared by up to five travellers at once.

In the west of Germany, two states team up: you can go where you please within the states of Saarland and Rheinland-Pfalz, which includes the area bounded by Bonn, Mainz, Mannheim, Saarbrucken and the Luxembourg frontier.

On Saturdays or Sundays, there is an even better deal: travel the length and breadth of the country for a flat €21 with the Schönes-Wochenende ("happy weekend") ticket, again for up to five. More information from German Rail (0870 243 5363,

Warning of the week: British and American government advice on travel to Jerusalem

After yesterday's suicide bomb attack on a supermarket in a suburb of Jerusalem, the Foreign Office warned: "The risk of further unpredictable and indiscriminate attacks remains very high."

The FO's travel advice unit warns travellers not to visit the Old City of Jerusalem on Fridays, and urges British visitors not to travel at all to Bethlehem, Jericho or any other area of the West Bank or Gaza.

The US State Department says travellers should "limit travel to the Old City of Jerusalem to daylight hours". Washington also says that tourists should "avoid locations such as restaurants and cafés, shopping areas and malls, pedestrian zones, public buses and bus stops".

Finally, the State Department warns that laptop computers and other devices have been confiscated during security checks at the country's main airport, Ben Gurion. "While most are returned prior to departure, some equipment has been damaged, destroyed or lost as a result."

Destination of the week: Eastern European capital cities

Three airlines from the formerly Communist East are stepping up frequencies from the UK – and switching their flights from Heathrow to Gatwick. Adria Airways, Balkan Bulgarian and Lithuanian Airlines are introducing daily services to Ljubljana, Sofia and Vilnius respectively.