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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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff