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What do you love about travel? Which is your favourite country in the world? And of all the islands in the world, which is the most beautiful? 

Some seem like paradise on earth with white sand and shimmering turquoise waters. Some still have vast areas that are practically deserted while others hum with the life of residents and year-round tourists. All are beautiful in their own way.   

It's a hard task but the readers of Condé Nast Traveller have managed to pick their favourites and the results show the Balearic Islands have relinquished the top spot to make way for The Maldives - last year's third placed destination.

This group of around 1,200 small coral islands in the Indian ocean achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1965, and The Maldives has long been seen as one of the most romantic destinations in the world.

Remaining steadfastly at number two are the Greek Islands of the Aegean Sea. The ideal climate, safe waters and small distances between ports and coasts have made the Greek islands extremely popular amongst travellers.

Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, is also known for its most prominent landmark: Mount Etna, which, at 3,350m (10,990 ft), is the tallest active volcano in Europe and one of the most active in the world. 

Associate editor Peter Browne, said: 'The Maldives came out first thanks to high scores across the board, but most notably for its white-sand beaches.

'Closer to home, the Greek Islands, which have come in the top 10 for a decade or more, are in part so popular because our readers love open-hearted Greek hospitality.'

 

 

First place: The Maldives, long seen as one of the most romantic places in the world to go on holiday still stuns visitors with its crystal clear waters, white sand beaches and impossibly blue sea and sky. 'High scores across the board' from Conde Nast Traveller readers pushed this destination up from third place into pole posiition this time around

 

Second place: The Greek Islands are extremely popular among both Greek and foreign visitors thanks to their wonderful climate, hospitality and short distances between ports and stunning villages such as Santorini, pictured. Some of the oldest European civilizations developed on the Greek islands and unique archeological sites abound. Conde Nast readers mentioned the warm welcome meted out by friendly locals as a deciding factor too

 

Third place: Sicily (pictured here the coastline near the nature reserve of Zingaro) is the largest island in the Mediterranean, but still boasts some of the finest beaches, turquoise waters and soft beaches often attributed to smaller islands. Mount Etna is another huge attraction, being one of the most active volcanoes in the world

 

Fourth place: The Caribbean's most elite, most expensive island St Barth's - short for Saint-Barthélemy - lives up to its reputation as a place where the rich and famous gather to drink champagne. But its uncrowded white-sand beaches and distinctly Gallic air ensure it's a favourite with lesser mortals as well

 

Fifth place: The Balearic Islands, formerly in the number one spot, are made up of four main islands all with a very different flavour. Ibiza (pictured here, Benniras beach) known for its thumping nightlife also has a calmer, traditional side, and its sisters Majorca and Menorca are equally beautiful, with lush green countryside as well as great beaches and pretty little villages along a stunning coastline

 

Sixth place: She sells seashells... The Seychelles, a longtime favourite of Conde Nast readers, is an otherworldly archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean. A trip to the Seychelles promises breathtaking natural beauty in pristine surrounds still untouched by man. With no less than two UNESCO World Heritage Sites - the Vallée de Mai on Praslin where the Coco-de-mer nut grows high on ancient palms, and Aldabra, the world's largest raised coral atoll

 

Seventh place: Luxuriant, extraordinary, and with a mild climate. Capri, just off the coast of Italy south of the bay of Napoli, has been visited over the centuries by intellectuals, artists and writers enthralled by its beauty. Visitors speak in glowing terms of its mix of history, nature and culture, and the exclusive feel of some of its busy ports is counteracted by a host of smaller harbours accessed only by boat. One of Italy's sparkling jewels

 

Eighth place: Lush tropical greenery, warm blue waters and golden sunlight. In Barbados you can spend the day on any number of white sandy beaches; eat some flying fish; drink some rum punch. In Barbados you can generally trade in the chaotic rush for the slow and easy while soaking up the natural beauty of this subtropical island

 

Ninth place: The warm welcome and the island's safe beaches and gentle seas make Mauritius a great place for a family getaway as well as a romantic destination for couples. Deserted beaches wrap themselves around the island, and large lagoons lined with fine white sand seem the embodiment of paradise. Mauritius is a country of poets, writers and artists, inspired not only by the stunning natural landscape, but also by its multicultural identity

 

Tenth place: Malta is a popular tourist destination with its warm climate, numerous recreational areas, and architectural and historical monuments, and the island has no fewer than nine UNESCO World Heritage sites. Its capital, Valletta (pictured) is the smallest capital in the European Union as well as being famous for the beauty of its Baroque palaces, gardens and churches

Celine Dion is known for penchant for haute couture, but her latest look is extremely stripped down.

Included in a series of Instagram posts by Vogue magazine is a photo of the singer baring it all.

Dion is shown nude, sitting in a chair, arms folded as she holds a white garment.

"Here's a little naked fact to ponder while Celine Dion changes looks between shows: for the past five years she has worn haute couture near exclusively for her own performances (in Las Vegas and on her current "mini-tour" of Europe)," the caption read. "She performs a minimum two hours a night, five or six nights a week, dancing and curtseying and generally gesticulating sans abandon, in handmade, hand-beaded delicacies designed solely to walk a catwalk or a carpet (and often with handlers)."

The lengthy caption went on to explain that as per the singer's instructions, fashion houses "send teams to Nevada" for fittings, before the garments are ultimately finished by Dion's private atelier.

"The clothes follow me; I do not follow the clothes," Dion is quoted as saying. 

Other photos in the series show Dion dressed in more, a nod to her love for fashion.

Dion's stylist Law Roach told People that working with the singer has been humbling.

"I think she's really enjoying fashion and being out and being seen and getting photographed," he said.

Sir Tom Jones is to make his Proms debut in a celebration of Stax Records, alongside soul legends Booker T Jones and Sam Moore.

The concert, on 1 September, marks the 50th anniversary of the label's hugely successful 1967 European tour.

Featuring acts like Sam & Dave and Otis Redding, the revue prompted a surge in popularity for American soul in the UK.

The prom comes near the end of a season which also features Simon Rattle, Jarvis Cocker and Nicola Benedetti

Sir Tom said he was looking forward to his first appearance at the classical music festival.

"I've always sung soul and I've always sung Stax," he said. "I sang Otis Redding's (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay on my television show in 1969 and I intend to sing it at this prom again!"

He'll be joined on the night by Beverley Knight, James Morrison and Ruby Turner as well as Stax artists William Bell, Steve Cropper and Eddie Floyd.

The concert will be led by Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra.

Puddles of sweat

Stax Records began as a small regional record label in Memphis in 1957. Established by bank clerk Jim Stewart and his sister Estelle Axton, it developed a roster that was rich with talent, including Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett, Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas and the Bar-Kays, amongst others.

The sound was gritty and gutsy compared to the pop sheen of Motown, but it had a huge influence on UK acts. The Rolling Stones covered hits by Otis Redding and Rufus Thomas; while The Beatles paid homage to the label on Baby You Can Drive My Car.

When the Stax entourage landed at Heathrow in spring 1967, the Fab Four even sent limos to greet the musicians. Later, they took a break from recording Sgt Pepper to spend a night on the town with Redding.

The 17-date tour saw an all-star line-up, including Sam & Dave, Eddie Floyd, and Arthur Conley, all backed by the label's house band Booker T and the MG's.

A friendly rivalry emerged, with each of the acts trying to top each other, making the shows a breathtaking spectacle.

Trumpeter Wayne Jackson later recalled that "Redding would slosh through puddles of Sam & Dave's sweat to get out to the stage and then he would add a gallon of his own perspiration to the lake."

Sam Moore, the higher-voiced member of Sam & Dave, said the 1967 tour was "one of the most exciting times in my life".

"The love and enthusiasm from the British audiences back then was like nothing any of us had ever experienced before," he said in a statement.

"Performing at the Proms now with some of those we influenced is spectacular.

"I just wish that Otis, Arthur, Al, Duck, Wayne, Andrew and Dave were here to celebrate with us ... Maybe they're all looking down and patting their feet to the beat."

As with every Prom, around 1,000 standing tickets will be made available on the day of the concert, priced at just £6.

US tennis star Venus Williams has been involved in a car crash that led to the death of a 78-year-old man.

A spokesman for Palm Beach Gardens police in Florida confirmed to the BBC they were investigating a fatal crash involving the Grand Slam champion.

A man was taken to hospital after the accident on 9 June and died two weeks later from his injuries, he said.

Police believe she was at fault but her lawyer says it was an accident. She has not been cited or charged.

The man who died, Jerome Barson, was travelling with his wife who was driving their vehicle through an intersection when the collision happened.

Ms Williams' car suddenly darted into their path and was unable to clear the junction in time due to traffic jams, according to witness statements in a police report obtained by US media.

Mrs Barson was also taken to hospital but survived.

"[Ms Williams] is at fault for violating the right of way of [the other driver]," the report said, adding that there were no other factors like drugs, alcohol or mobile phone distractions.

The 37-year-old, seven-time Grand Slam champion reportedly told police she did not see the couple's car and she was driving slowly.

Ms Williams' lawyer Malcolm Cunningham told CNN in a statement: "Ms Williams entered the intersection on a green light. The police report estimates that Ms Williams was travelling at 5mph when Mrs Barson crashed into her.

"Authorities did not issue Ms Williams with any citations or traffic violations. This is an unfortunate accident and Venus expresses her deepest condolences to the family who lost a loved one."

Next week, Ms Williams is due to play her 20th Wimbledon tournament in London, where she is seeded 10th.

Ms Williams and her sister Serena have dominated the women's game for two decades.

Pregnant Serena Williams has posed naked on the cover of August's Vanity Fair magazine.

The tennis star found out she was expecting her first child with Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian just before the Australian Open in January.

She told the magazine that she hadn't suspected anything until she was sick at the side of the court while practising.

But her friend suspected she might be pregnant and suggested taking a test.

Serena ended up taking a test while doing a photo shoot for a lingerie company at an Australian hotel and said her "heart literally dropped" when she saw the result.

"Oh my God, this can't be - I've got to play a tournament," she said. "How am I going to play the Australian Open? I had planned on winning Wimbledon this year."

Her friend Jessica was then sent back to the hotel chemist to buy five more test kits to convince Serena that she was pregnant. All of them were positive.

The article also reveals how Alexis and Serena started dating in 2015.

He proposed last December at the same table at the Cavalieri Hotel in Italy where they'd first talked to each other.

"I felt like a door had been opened to a person who made me want to be my best self," said Alexis.

"I find myself just wanting to be better by simply being around her because of the standard she holds."

The 35-year-old has been forced to defend herself this week after John McEnroe claimed she'd struggle if she played on the men's circuit.

The seven-time Grand Slam champion told NPR radio station in America: "If she played the men's circuit she'd be, like, 700 in the world.

"If she had to just play the men's circuit, it would be an entirely different story."

Serena Williams tweeted to ask John McEnroe to keep his thoughts to himself.

The man ranked 701 in the world - Dmitry Tursunov - also says he thinks he could beat Serena Williams.

50 Cent has a huge crush on Helen Mirren. The pair put affectionate display when they were photographed at 57th Monte Carlo TV Festival in Monaco on Tuesday, June 20. Sporting a cream gown with sheer overlay, the Oscar-winning actress looked in high spirits as she posed alongside the 41-year-old rapper for the camera. 

In some photos obtained by Daily Mail, the two seemed to enjoy each other's company. They even appeared to be flirting. 50 Cent later also posted on Instagram a photo of him and the British actress, referring to her as "the queen." He wrote in the caption, "Me and the queen. Taking over Monaco for tonight." 

Their photos went viral. After knowing that his photos with Helen became headlines, 50 Cent took to Instagram to reveal his crush on the 71-year-old actress, who is married to movie director Taylor Hackford. He shared a photo of one magazine article which found a picture of Helen gazing adoringly at him while hiding a part of her face behind a prop fan. 

The "Candy Shop" spitter admitted that he has the hots for the actress as he jokingly wrote alongside the picture, "Yeah I think I love her man, I'm trying not to stare at her. She know she turns me on. She just has that thing, you know I can't describe it. LOL." 

 

"American Idol" reboot is reportedly eyeing Lionel Richie as their second judge. Previously, Katy Perry was confirmed as the first judge as the singing competition was about to launch its 16th season on a new network. 

Production sources tell TMZ that producers think Lionel's legendary music career makes him a perfect pick. His credibility and outgoing personality also make him an obvious choice for the "American Idol" bosses. 

It's still unknown whether "American Idol" crew has formally reached out to Lionel. A representative for the "Hello" hitmaker hasn't responded to a request for comment. 

Fans are wondering how much can producers afford to pay Lionel as Katy is getting a staggering $25 million for her judging gig. Meanwhile, Randy Jackson recently revealed that "American Idol" producers wanted him to replace Ryan Seacrest as the show's host. 

 

Holy Bright Knight!

The late actor Adam West was honored by Los Angeles with a ceremonial lighting of the Bat-signal from City Hall.

West died Friday of leukemia. He was 88.

The actor played his premiere role as millionaire Bruce Wayne and superhero Batman in the 1960s television series.

The Bat-signal was used in the show when the fictitious Gotham City Police Department needed to summon the superhero.

According to an announcement from DC Comics, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Police Chief Charlie Beck joined "Bat-guests" to light the Bat-signal in tribute to West's portrayal of the "Bright Knight" on Thursday night.

The West family encouraged fans who are unable to attend the ceremony to make a donation to either the Adam West Memorial Fund for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital or Camp Rainbow Gold.

 

A jury deliberating Bill Cosby's sex assault trial has told the judge they are deadlocked on day four of their deliberations.

But the judge has instructed the panel to return to continue trying to reach a verdict.

If the seven men and five women cannot reach a unanimous decision a mistrial will be declared.

Mr Cosby, 79, is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his Philadelphia-area home in 2004.

Ms Constand and her mother were in court for the announcement from the jurors.

The BBC's Aleem Maqbool, in court, says the jurors informed the judge on Thursday morning they were unable to reach a consensus on any of the charges, each of which carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence.

Judge Steven O'Neill read a standard statement asking them to try to agree on some or all of the counts.

He did not give a time limit for deliberations.

After the deadlock was announced, several other women who have accused Mr Cosby of assault left the courtroom in tears, according to court reporters.

Mr Cosby's spokesman Andrew Wyatt told journalists on the courtroom steps in Norristown, Pennsylvania, that Mr Cosby was "innocent until proven guilty".

Mr Wyatt said: "He never got a fair trial. He never should have been here. That was unfair to have him here."

On Wednesday jurors asked to rehear Mr Cosby's testimony from the 2005 civil case brought forth by the same accuser.

Ms Constand, who was an administrator at Philadelphia's Temple University where Mr Cosby was on the board of trustees, says she was drugged and sexually assaulted during a 2004 visit to the comic's home to seek career advice.

Mr Cosby said in a 2005-06 civil deposition that he provided pills to help her relax, but said it was a cold medication.

He also has claimed that their physical contact was consensual.

The pioneering comedian was the first African-American to appear on primetime television in the US.

Mr Cosby has been accused by at least 50 women of drugging and sexually assaulting them over the course of his career.

However, due to statute of limitation rules, the charges brought forth by the district attorney in the Philadelphia suburb is the only trial he faces.

If a mistrial is declared, prosecutors must decide if there is enough evidence to seek a new trial or decide to drop the charges

 

Go ahead and toss your Oprah Winfrey for president bumper stickers.

Winfrey is unequivocally shutting down speculation that she might throw her hat into the political ring.

During a podcast with The Hollywood Reporter, the media mogul was asked about the possibility of challenging President Donald Trump in 2020.

Related: Oprah for president?

"I will never run for public office," Winfrey said.

In 2015, Trump told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that Oprah would be his dream running mate.

"I think we'd win easily, actually," Trump said. "I like Oprah. I mean, is that supposed to be a bad thing? I don't think so."

Trump also teased a presidential run during an appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 1988.

Winfrey told THR she doesn't know if she'd win in a race against Trump, but that doesn't matter.

"I will never have to know the answer to that, because I will never run for public office," she said.

Winfrey also weighed in on the controversy surrounding talk show host Bill Maher using the "n-word" recently on his HBO show.

"The word should be eliminated from the lexicon" for everyone, Winfrey said.

"I have been on the record being anti the word period," she added. "Nobody should be allowed to say it."

 

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