The column that gives the global picture

Bargain of the week: Midwest

Two routes from Britain to the US Midwest, axed after 11 September are returning for the spring and summer. On 2 April, the twin cities of Birmingham and Chicago will be linked once again by American Airlines.

Using this route, or the links from Manchester or Heathrow, the airline is selling a range of North American destinations, with a stopover option in Chicago. Toronto is on sale for £315 return through agents.

On 16 April, the short-lived Gatwick-Cleveland route will be revived by Continental Airlines. Book by 9 April for a fare of £282 return through Trailfinders (020-7937 5400, The same agency has an April fare of £247 from Heathrow to Chicago on either BA or United, but you must book by next Tuesday 26 March; Air India is on offer for £218.

Online, has an April fare of £230 on Northwest to Chicago from Gatwick via Detroit.

Warning of the week: out east, out late could mean out cold

The incidence of travellers being drugged and robbed is increasing, according to a fresh set of official warnings. In Moscow, says the Foreign Office, recent incidents of robbery and violence reinforce the need to take care when meeting casual or new acquaintances in bars, restaurants or night-clubs.

"Drinks should not be left unattended as they may then be drugged," says the Foreign Office.

In Latvia, "The number of muggings of foreign visitors has increased over the past year; some have had drinks spiked in casinos and clubs before being mugged."

The US State Department says that villains in Istanbul are drugging foreigners with nembitol, known on the street as the "yellow bomb", and benzodiazepine. In one case, "an American died from the effects of the drug that had been intended to put him to sleep".