Catrina Stewart

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MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD: The President is promising Iran will block oil shipments in response to further sanctions

Iran tests the West's patience with show of might in missile launch

Iran says it has successfully test-fired a medium-range missile close to the strategic Straits of Hormuz, a move that will test Western patience in the stand-off over its nuclear programme.

Burhan Ghalioun, SNC chairman: A political scientist and Paris-based professor, Ghalioun is seen by some as a consensus figure with the potential to draw together the fragmented opposition movement

Arab League told to pull its monitors out of Syria

Anger mounts as killings continue under the noses of inspectors sent to impose peace plan

Palestinian Christian priests conduct prayers in Beit Jala in protest at the Israeli plans to extend the 470-mile security barrier through the town

Oh brothers, where art thou?

Israel's plans to extend its controversial 470-mile security barrier further into Palestinian territory have pitted a Christian community's nuns and monks against each other, writes Catrina Stewart in Beit Jala

Sex segregation on the buses divides Israelis

Ultra-Orthodox Jews plan private fleet after woman refuses to sit at the back
The Foreign Minister, Walid Moallem, said the observers would be free to move around Syria

Syria brings in death penalty for opposition

State TV announces punishment on day that 100 die in clashes with regime troops

The slick California educated Prince, worth $19.6bn (£12.6bn), has been dubbed the Arabian Warren Buffett. His Kingdom Holding Company has stakes in companies from Apple to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and owns numerous hotel chains. His media interests include Rotana Group, which broadcasts Fox channels in Saudi Arabia. He has announced the launch of a new pan-Arab 24-hour news channel that should be on air by the end of 2012. The head of the channel has said the Prince – one of the most reformist voices in the Saudi royal family – intends to use it to push his liberal agenda

OMG! Saudi Prince Alwaleed buys $300m stake in Twitter

The Saudi billionaire, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, has bought a $300m (£193m) stake in Twitter, the social-media site that was instrumental in spreading the pro-democracy message of the Arab Spring.

Palestinian prisoner swap completed

Israel is preparing to free 550 Palestinian prisoners this weekend in the final part of a swap deal with Hamas for the Jewish soldier Gilad Shalit.

The body of a Palestinian killed in his home by an Israeli air strike is carried through Gaza City

Hamas accuses Israel of planning for war after air strikes kill three

Egypt condemns latest attacks on Palestinians in Gaza as tensions rise across the Middle East

Israel to free 'car thieves' in second part of exchange

Israel is to release a second batch of Palestinian prisoners this month as part of an exchange deal for the recently freed Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, but may largely exclude political prisoners from the swap.

Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav speaking to journalists yesterday

Former Israeli president starts jail term for rape conviction

Israel's former president, Moshe Katsav, began a seven-year jail sentence for rape and sexual offences yesterday, insisting that he was an innocent man who was being "buried alive".

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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there