Detectives said they were "shaken" by "horrific" alleged cases

Arab League considers extension of Syria mission

Syrian government tanks and armored vehicles have pulled back from an embattled mountain town near Damascus, activists and witnesses said today, but at least nine people were killed by security forces elsewhere as a month-long Arab League fact-finding mission expired.

Texas Governor Rick Perry stands with his wife Anita as he announces he is dropping his run for the Republican US presidential nomination

Rick Perry withdraws from Republican presidential race

Texas Governor Rick Perry abandoned his presidential bid and endorsed Newt Gingrich today, just two days before the pivotal South Carolina primary.

Searches of Belgian church property continue in abuse investigation

Belgian authorities searched the administrative offices of the bishops of Bruges and Ghent today, a day after raiding similar offices in three other cities as they investigated whether church officials protected child abusers instead of their victims.

Last night's viewing - The Mystery of Edwin Drood, BBC2; Arena: Dickens on Film BBC4

According to Arena: Dickens on Film, one source of the author's appeal to film-makers was his "constellation of unforgettable grotesques". They are, the narrator continued, "characters every actor wants to play, characters impossible to overact". To which one might reply that while the first clause might be true, the second certainly isn't, and that grotesquery can be one of Dickens' besetting problems on screen. Adaptations of his work often run into trouble with the Dickensian, that caricature view of the writing that you can see in the original illustrations (which, like film or television, necessarily favour the concrete facts of the prose over its flavour). The Mystery of Edwin Drood has one big advantage in this respect, which is that it isn't terribly well known. When he plays John Jasper, Matthew Rhys isn't taking on a distinguished line of predecessors (as anybody playing Micawber would be) and very few of us at home will be waiting to see whether a beloved scene is correctly done.

Rare attacks on Afghan Shiites kill 60

A suicide bomber struck a crowd of Shiite worshippers who packed a Kabul mosque today to mark a holy day, killing at least 56 people, and a second bombing in another city killed four more Shiites.

Germany probes possible Iranian attacks

German prosecutors are investigating information authorities have received that Iran has been planning attacks on American targets inside the country, but has no indication of anything in the works, a spokeswoman said today.

State of the nation: what the views of MBA directors and students can teach us

The MBA is without doubt the international postgraduate business programme. For just over a century it has been the passport to bigger, brighter and better-paid jobs for managers looking to boost their careers. In that time, the MBA sector has developed its own set of values and accepted truths. Salary hikes are the proof of a programme's success. In the US, an MBA should last 24 months as opposed to 12 months in Europe. A high international student intake is a must. But do such sweeping statements truly reflect the reality of the market?

'I had no reason to be suspicious', says victim of top blagging scam

One of the tabloids' favourite "blagging" techniques, known as the "Royal Mail" scam, has been exposed in detail to the Leveson Inquiry.

Underage defendants lose right to anonymity

Juvenile defendants appearing in courts charged with offences relating to riots and looting will no longer have the right to anonymity after new guidance was issued to prosecutors.

Zuckerberg's sister takes aim at internet bullies

Facebook's marketing director and sister of founder Mark Zuckerberg has called for an end to online anonymity to help stop cyber-bullying.

85 killed in youth camp shooting, 7 in Oslo blast

Police arrived at an island massacre about 90 minutes after a gunman first opened fire, slowed because they didn't have quick access to a helicopter and then couldn't find a boat to make their way to the scene just several hundred yards (meters) offshore. The assailant surrendered when police finally reached him, but 82 people died before that.

Pupils making false allegations may face criminal prosecution

Pupils who make malicious accusations against their teachers could face criminal prosecution under new guidance on school discipline issued by the Government.

Letter from the editor: Gambling - It’s a mug’s game

It’s difficult to look at the page 2 graphic without thinking “why them?”. Yes, we should all be generous regarding the good fortune of others, but a more honest human reaction is summed up by Gore Vidal, whom I may have quoted before: “Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little inside”.

Couples seek IVF treatment abroad

Couples desperate for a baby are being forced abroad because of a lack of sperm and egg donors in the UK, researchers say.

Betrayal, Comedy Theatre, London

Kristin Scott Thomas has graced the London stage on three previous occasions – each time to indelible effect.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
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