My travel photo addiction is out of control – here’s how I’m trying to beat it

Travellers have grown increasingly obsessed with documenting their trips It’s my worst addiction. More pernicious than my attachment to caffeine, TV as background noise or squalid post-gym binges with a monster pack of Kettle Chips. My impulse to document every aspect of a holiday with my camera phone has become all-consuming. And my ability to enjoy travel in the moment is under threat. On a recent trip to Colombia, I realised how bad things had got. I was out in the country’s hot, isolated plains with a small group of…

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2016 hottest year ever recorded – and scientists say human activity to blame

2016 was the hottest year on record, setting a new high for the third year in a row, with scientists firmly putting the blame on human activities that drive climate change. The final data for 2016 was released on Wednesday by the three key agencies – the UK Met Office and Nasa and Noaa in the US – and showed 16 of the 17 hottest years on record have been this century. Direct temperature measurements stretch back to 1880, but scientific research indicates the world was last this warm about…

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Pay-as-you-go car insurance – perfect for the low-mileage driver?

Millions of people buy their mobile phone service on a pay-as-you-go contract – and now we are being offered car insurance in the same way, paying just for the miles we drive. In the next few months two start-up insurance firms will begin offering pay-as-you-drive car insurance products that claim to do away with the big up front annual premium. The idea is simple. Users pay a flat monthly fee – about £10 to £30 – to cover the basic fire and theft element of the insurance, and then an…

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Insurance policies underwritten by Gable due to be cancelled – replace your car cover ASAP

If you’ve car insurance underwritten by Gable Insurance, you’ll need to arrange alternative cover before your policy is voided at the end of next week, following the company’s slide into liquidation. Liechtenstein-based Gable Insurance underwrites motor insurance, home insurance and liability insurance policies in the UK for firms that have included Sure Thing, Paragon and Towergate. Gable went into liquidation on 16 November – meaning thousands of insurance contracts will be cancelled as of 16 December. If you’ve been impacted by the company’s demise you’ll need to find new insurance…

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Poorer white pupils underperform in later academic choices – study

‘ Students from white British backgrounds are often holding themselves back by making poor educational choices, with many shutting themselves out of better careers as a result, according to a study for the government’s social mobility watchdog. Researchers found that as much as half of the gap in admissions to highly selective Russell Group universities between children on free school meals (FSM) and their better-off peers could be a result of factors beyond academic ability. The analysis published by the Social Mobility Commission, headed by former Labour minister Alan Milburn,…

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We’re about to assess teaching in universities – let’s learn from other sectors

There are well-established regimes for rating schools and healthcare providers. Those that work best are stable, detailed and easy to compare How well will metrics do the job of an inspector? Photograph: Alamy We all know now that the government wants to assess the quality of teaching in higher education through a new Teaching Excellence Framework (Tef). What’s less clear is exactly how this will happen. There are genuine concerns, but finding imperfections in the model of the Tef put out for consultation is the easy bit. The hard bit…

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100 fiction books all children should read before leaving primary school – according to teachers

TES and the National Association for the Teaching of English ran a survey to find teachers’ top 100 fiction books all children should read before leaving primary school. Here are the results. 1          Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl 2          Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian 3          Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll 4          Matilda by Roald Dahl 5          The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson 6          The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis 7          The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle 8          We’re Going on a Bear Hunt…

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10 of the best Russia holiday destinations – beyond Moscow and St Petersburg

Majestic lakes, mountains, history and even ecotourism resorts, opt for Russia’s lesser-known cities and nature parks and there’s enough to keep you exploring for weeks. Share your Russia tips in the comments below Marvel at … Marble canyon, Ruskeala, Karelia. Photograph: Shamukov Ruslan/Corbis Ruskeala, Karelia Why go? Karelia, a republic in north-west Russia, is known as one the country’s most beautiful places. The nature here is breathtaking and more Finnish than Russian, with lakes, waterfalls and trees growing on giant rocks. Ruskeala is a village close to Sortavala, one of…

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0 of the best Russia holiday destinations – beyond Moscow and St Petersburg

Majestic lakes, mountains, history and even ecotourism resorts, opt for Russia’s lesser-known cities and nature parks and there’s enough to keep you exploring for weeks. Share your Russia tips in the comments below Marvel at … Marble canyon, Ruskeala, Karelia. Photograph: Shamukov Ruslan/Corbis Ruskeala, Karelia Why go? Karelia, a republic in north-west Russia, is known as one the country’s most beautiful places. The nature here is breathtaking and more Finnish than Russian, with lakes, waterfalls and trees growing on giant rocks. Ruskeala is a village close to Sortavala, one of…

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‘My favourite beach in the world’ – readers’ tips

Take a punta on that … a ‘secluded slice of paradise’ in the Gandoca-Manzanillo wildlife refuge, Costa Rica. Photograph: Alamy Winning tip: Punta Uva, Costa Rica Just a winding road away from vibrant Caribbean-infused Puerto Viejo is theGandoca-Manzanillo wildlife refuge, a haven for free-range iguanas, sedentary sloths, all manner of feathered, scaled and furry creatures – and a few lucky human visitors. Explosions of vegetation burst with beneficial botanical properties; the Refuge is a tropical garden of Eden. Follow a trail through the towering bamboo canes, skirt around zig-zagging trails…

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