European Central Bank vice-president Vitor Constancio: “If we would have to broaden the programme to include the so-called mezzanine tranches, where there is more risk, for that we would indeed some kind of guarantee.” Photograph: EPA/Matteo Bazzi

The prospect that Irish banks could offload some of their problematic mortgage debts as part of the European Central Bank’s asset-backed security-purc(...)

Members of Jamaica’s Marine Police return to port after leaving the site where it is presumed a small US private plane with an unresponsive pilot crashed off the east coast of Jamaica, in Port Antonio yesterday. Photograph: Reuters

A small US private plane with an unresponsive pilot crashed off the east coast of Jamaica last night after veering far off its course toward southw(...)

 The set for La Bohéme at the Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago, Italy

PUCCINI AL FRESCO IN TORRE DEL LAGO This year marks the 60th Puccini Festival in the composer’s adopted hometown of Torre del Lago, 26km north of(...)

‘The Last General Absolution of the Munsters at Rue du Bois’, by Fortunio Matania. This painting relates to an incident in France in May of 1915, when the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Munster Fusiliers suffered very heavily at Rue du Bois, in the Pas-de-Calais close to Arras. Credit: Illustrated London News Ltd/Mary Evans

The most haunting and poignant image of Irish involvement in the first World War is at the centre of an unsolved art mystery. The Last General (...)

The Thai government has introduced insurance for visitors whose policies have a null-and-void provision due to the coup in May

INSURANCE FOR THAILAND The Thai government has introduced online travel insurance for visitors whose policies have a null-and-void provision d(...)

American novelist Edmund White photographed in Dublin in June 2014. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

If survival is an art, it is one that the American writer Edmund White, famous since the publication of the powerfully autobiographical A Boy’s Own St(...)

Last week’s scandals involving the Milan Expo exhibition and the Forza Italia party of Silvio Berlusconi (above) run the risk of turning a solid abstentionist vote into a Eurosceptic or protest vote. Photograph: Daniel Dal Zennaro/EPA

Just when Italy needed them least, along came another set of Mafia and corruption scandals to set up the Eurosceptics for a field day when Italy vo(...)

Andrej Longo: the author of Ten (Harvill Secker, translated by Howard Curtis), a collection of short stories loosely based on the Ten Commandments

Andrej Longo is the author of Ten (Harvill Secker, translated by Howard Curtis), a collection of short stories loosely based on the Ten Commandment(...)

Italy, Campania, Ischia Island, Aragonese castle  Lifelong friends choose Ischia in Italy to visit Lady Walton’s garden

We are lifelong friends in our 50 s planning a garden trips to visit Lady Walton’s garden on the island of Ischia . We can only get away for fi(...)

Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, one of a series of fictional murderers imitated by a serial killer in Pierre Lemaitre’s Irène

Pierre Lemaitre’s Alex earned rave reviews last year, not least for the way Lemaitre rework(...)