The column that gives the global picture

Destination of the week: new link to South Africa

South African Airways tried direct flights between Manchester and Johannesburg, but couldn't make money and soon abandoned them. Yet traffic between the UK and South Africa has been buoyant - and profitable. So CT2 Holidays (0845 121 2003; has introduced non-stop charter flights this winter between Manchester and Cape Town from November to April. The flying time is just over 12 hours, aboard an Icelandair Boeing 767.

The lowest price for a week in Cape Town, including transfers and accommodation, is £599 per person for two sharing a room at the Cape Manor Suites or Lady Hamilton Hotel; this applies outside the Christmas and Easter holidays. Weekend flights are subject to a £30 surcharge.

Warning of the week: 13 July is unlucky for some

Trains are due to run on the first section of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link from 28 September. It will trim 20 minutes from the journey time from London to Brussels and Paris. But the price for completing it on schedule is a series of short-notice closures of the existing line. The latest has been called for 13 July, the eve of Bastille Day. Eurostar (08705 186 186, has cancelled all its trains on that day. It is offering passengers the option of re-booking on alternative days or getting their money back.

Bargain of the week: cheap flights in high season

Many airlines are launching short-term seat sales to shift excess capacity in July. Alitalia (0870 607 6005; is selling flights from London to Italy aggressively, with fares starting at £79 return to Milan. In theory, £112 gets you to Florence and back, though the lowest I could find in a series of test bookings yesterday was £126 return (out 23 July, back a week later); book online by 10 July. Buy by midnight on Thursday, and FlyBE (08705 676 676, will take you from Birmingham to Milan for £59 return, or between Newcastle and Belfast for £35.40 return. Finally, Ryanair (0871 246 0000; is putting one million tickets throughout its network on sale for £19, £29 or £39; book tomorrow or on Monday.

Winners of the week: one reader, one writer

The recent HolidaySaver prize draw in The Independent has been won by Mr N Ambler of Bristol; the prize is a week's all-inclusive holiday for two adults and two children at any Mark Warner Resort Hotel.

Aoife O'Riordain of The Independent has been selected as Newspaper Journalist of the Year by the Visit USA Association, for her Complete Guide to Art Deco America, published in March.