Chinese industrialist Li Jinyuan  brought 6,400 of his employees on holiday to France in May – a trip that cost more than €13million – where they formed a record-breaking ‘longest human phrase’, reading ‘Tiens’ dream is Nice in the Côte d’Azur’. Photograph: Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images

It starts with a pennant flag held aloft by a scarily enthusiastic twenty-something tour guide, skilled in speaking high-tempo Mandarin without pau(...)

Above, Omaima (left), Fatima and Somaia Halawa sisters of Ibrahim. ‘Halawa has been receiving important consular support from the Irish Embassy in Cairo. But it is not enough.’ Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Today an Irish teenager lies abandoned to his fate in a Cairo prison, cut off from the world. Ibrahim Halawa was arrested in August 2013 near Cairo’s (...)

Michael D Higgins: “We need to confront the hegemonic ethic of individualism and insatiable consumption at the roots of our behaviour and replace it with a new thinking”. The President was speaking at  the Consciouness Summit in Paris.  Photograph: EPA/ETIENNE LAURENT

Two news items about climate change illustrate how public opinion is becoming more aware of the dangers in a year of major choices about how to mitiga(...)

Omaima, Fatima and Somaia Halawa sisters of Ibrahim Halawa who is awaiting trial in Egypt. Photograph: The Irish Times

The Egyptian government cannot intervene to release Ibrahim Halawa while his case is before the courts, but there may be “room” for talks on the teena(...)

Ibrahim Halawa was arrested in August 2013 2:27

The chairman of the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee has been granted permission to meet Irish teenager Ibrahim Halawa (19), who has been detained(...)

A political rally in Burundi for President Pierre Nkurunziza:  Africa’s recent history at holding leaders to account does not inspire confidence. Photograph: Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

A number of African presidents have suggested a new continental court is required for dealing with regional leaders accused of serious abuse of power,(...)

The Naval Service patrol ship LÉ Niamh has rescued 98 migrants from a rubber craft in the Mediterranean on its first mission since taking up humanitarian rescue duty.

The Naval Service patrol ship LÉ Niamh has rescued over 360 migrants from the Mediterranean in its first two missions since taking up station in the a(...)

Oban waterfront, Scotland: From Oban you  can take the ferry to the Mull of Kintyre. Photograph: Thinkstock

I’m keen to visit the monastic island of Iona in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland for what essentially would be a penitential visit of a few days. I (...)

Egyptian Muslims perform Eid-al-Fitr prayers in front of mosques in the old Islamic area of Cairo, Egypt. Photograph: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters.

Six supporters of Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood were killed in clashes with police near the Giza pyramids in Cairo on Friday, security source(...)

Stephen Wheeler, managing director of SSE Airtricity. “Our model can’t just be about selling electricity, it’s actually providing an essential service to our customers.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

SSE Airtricity is on course to building the biggest wind farm in the State. The local subsidiary of British utility, Scottish and Southern Energy, (...)