News People take part in a simulation entitled 'A Day in the Life of a Refugee: Exploring Solutions for Syria'

The most agonising choice many attendees of the World Economic Forum in Davos face is whether to go for a Martini or a smooth Riesling at the countless lavish parties that take place after hours.

Sri Lanka's civil war inquiry is 'eyewash', say Tamils

Sri Lanka's investigation into the war against the Tamil Tigers – a conflict that left thousands of civilians dead – has begun amid a barrage of allegations that justice will not be done.

Ban Ki-moon denies failing to fight fraud

The UN secretary general said it is "unfair" to question his record on battling internal fraud and corruption despite criticism from two former top officials who say he improperly blocked their efforts.

Co-operation on UN flotilla inquiry

Israel has announced it will take part in a UN investigation into the deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla last spring, in a departure from its traditional mistrust of the world body. The move allowed the UN's secretary-general Ban Ki-moon to formally announce the creation of an investigation panel into the incident in which nine Turkish activists, including one with US citizenship, died after being shot by Israeli commandos boarding their ship.

Israeli army pledges to cut civilian deaths

The Israeli army has told the United Nations it is taking steps to reduce civilian casualties in future wars and will restrict the use of white phosphorous.

Leading article: A disastrous failure of leadership

The United Nations appears to be spinning, once more, into crisis. Inga-Britt Ahlenius, the outgoing head of the UN's internal corruption watchdog, has delivered a scathing "end of assignment" report in which she accuses the Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, of personally frustrating her work.

Dan Plesch: Naive not to acknowledge the world's elite wants a weak UN

A departing UN official has attacked her boss, Ban Ki-moon, for being ineffective. At first glance, the story is about as astonishing as "Dog Bites Man". But the story is much more complicated than a simple case of a disgruntled ex-employee sounding off. As is so often the case, it is what is not being said that is most important, or, as in the Sherlock Holmes story, the dogs that are not barking but should be.

'Deplorable and reprehensible' UN boss savaged by outgoing aide

Wagons were being hastily circled around Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, last night as top aides absorbed the shock of one of their own blasting him for allegedly thwarting attempts to combat corruption in the world body and leading it into a "process of decay" and "irrelevance".

Happy Birthday to you, Mr Mandela

Communities across South Africa yesterday marked Nelson Mandela's 92nd birthday and the first 'Mandela Day' – an international day devoted to public service in honour of the anti-apartheid icon.

UN celebrates a 'watershed day' for women

Global body launched: The fight against rape, female circumcision, child mortality and poor healthcare takes on a higher priority.

UK allows ousted Kyrgyz president's son to stay for now

Bishkek to demand that Britain extradite Maxim Bakiyev, accused of embezzling millions

UN condemns escalating Kyrgyzstan violence

The UN Security Council condemned the violence in Kyrgyzstan and calling for calm and a return of the rule of law.

Israel eases blockade by letting in extra food items

Israel has eased its regime for food imports to Gaza, allowing foods like a range of herbs, biscuits, jam, potato crisps, packaged hummus and canned fruits which had been banned from entering the territory from Israel for three years.

Malawian gay couple 'split over woman'

A gay couple whose 14-year prison sentence for their love affair led to international condemnation, have split over a girl, according to the Malawian daily newspaper The Nation.

Netanyahu rejects UN-led inquiry into aid ship shootings

Group of Israeli naval reserve officers calls for commanders to be held to account

Malawian president pardons gay couple after UN meeting

The President of Malawi, Bingu wa Mutharika, yesterday pardoned a gay couple sentenced to 14 years in jail, after he held a meeting with the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon. "These boys committed a crime against our culture, our religion and our laws. However, as the head of state, I hereby pardon them and therefore ask for their immediate release with no conditions," Mr wa Mutharika said after the meeting in the capital, Lilongwe.

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Jeremy Clarkson
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Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
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The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
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Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
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Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
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Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
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An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
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Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
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NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own