News Social Democrats count votes in Berlin yesterday

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling conservatives were on course to form a grand coalition government.

German Social Democrats back coalition deal with Angela Merkel

The majority of the centre-left party's members voted to join the Chancellor in government.

Some commentators have suggested that Merkel might be unable to find a coalition partner and be forced to call fresh elections

Angela Merkel isolated as potential allies demand end to austerity

The German leader’s party finds itself without options after romping home in the polls

Tough talking as new Norwegian PM tries to form government

Erna Solberg, who is poised to become Prime Minister after the Labour premier conceded defeat in an election, faces tough negotiations with three other right-wing parties to form a government. 

'Merkel app' in use on smartphone in Berlin

Angela Merkel launches augmented reality app as part of election campaign

Cutting edge ‘Merkel app’ launched to target smartphone users before 22 September vote

Mourners lay flowers and pay their respects to Aldo Moro upon his assassination in 1978

Italy looks into a murky past with new investigation into killing of former PM Aldo Moro in 1978

Conspiracy theories swirled around then premier Giulio Andreotti - who died earlier this year - for opposing any sort of negotiation with the kidnappers

Giulio Andreotti has died, aged 94

Seven-time premier Giulio Andreotti dies aged 94

Known for shady links with the mafia, he helped draft the country's post-war constitution

Annette Schavan, a member of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, announced her decision after returning from an official trip to South Africa

Germany's education minister Annette Schavan quits over 'plagiarism' row

Germany's education minister resigned today after a university decided to withdraw her doctorate, finding that she plagiarised parts of her thesis - an embarrassment for Chancellor Angela Merkel's government as it prepares for elections later this year.

Annette Schavan has demanded a group of external academics assess her work

Will they ever learn...? Now Berlin’s schools tsar is accused of plagiarism

Annette Schavan could become second senior German politician to be stripped of doctorate

Merkel wins party backing for re-election campaign

Chancellor Angela Merkel launched her bid for re-election today, telling the party faithful that her government had steered Germany through the worst of the European financial crisis and was best equipped to guide it through what may still be tough times.

David Cameron vows to protect Thatcher's EU rebate

David Cameron will not accept a cut in Britain's rebate from Brussels as he tries to secure a freeze in the European Union budget, Downing Street said today.

The puddle-ridden pitch at the National Stadium in Warsaw last night

Poland's sports minister spared after offering to resign over roof fiasco during England World Cup qualifier

Poland's premier spared his sports minister today over the postponement of a World Cup qualifier with England, saying she was not directly liable for the failure to close the roof ahead of heavy rain.

Nicola Mancino, right, was recorded phoning President Giorgio Napolitano, left

Italian government in the dock as landmark Mafia trial begins

Berlusconi's daughter gives evidence as ex-minister and two former Cosa Nostra heads are indicted

Angela Merkel has been criticised for her uncompromising attitude

Fact File: Angela Merkel

The “world’s most powerful woman” first staked her claim to greatness in 1999, with the publication of an open letter in Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. It called for the Christian Democrats to reject Helmut Kohl, the retired chancellor and her former mentor, and in doing so paved the way for Angela Merkel’s eventual election as party leader.

ANGELA MERKEL: German leader’s party suffered its worst defeat in North Rhine Westphalia

Angela Merkel's party humiliated by shock election defeat

German voters reject austerity programme in favour of pro-growth opposition in state poll

Angela Merkel prepares for an austerity backlash as key state goes to the polls

Likely defeat in weekend's regional election set to be humbling bodyblow to Chancellor's cuts agenda

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Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...