News Social Democrats count votes in Berlin yesterday

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

Dutch politicians close to austerity budget deal

The Dutch caretaker government and opposition lawmakers said today that they are close to a deal on a provisional 2013 austerity budget, but the outcome was not yet certain.

PresidentWulff, left, with his wife Bettina, announcing his resignation yesterday. He said the nation needed someone it could trust

German President quits in loan scandal

Wulff stands down after criminal investigation begins over charges of improper favours

A politician of unimpeachable integrity: Scalfaro in 2006

Oscar Luigi Scalfaro: Former president of Italy, renowned for his honesty

Oscar Luigi Scalfaro was a Catholic politician whose anachronistic virtues, in particular his complete honesty and his commitment to the constitution, came to Italy's rescue during the gravest political crisis of the post-war era, the corruption scandal which erupted in 1993.

Merkel ally's warning to Cameron

Germany will not let UK block transactions tax, says leading politician ahead of Friday's talks
German Chancellor Angela Merkelin Leipzig

Merkel: this is worst crisis since 1945

Chancellor Angela Merkel told political supporters yesterday that the eurozone debt crisis presents Europe with its toughest challenge since the Second World War, and insisted that closer political union and tough fiscal sanctions offered the best hope of weathering the storm.

Fine Gael and Labour members agree on power-sharing deal

The next government in Dublin took shape yesterday with Ireland's two largest political parties striking a deal to work together.

Irish party leaders meet to discuss coalition

Two former opposition parties were holding talks yesterday aimed at forming a new government after the long-dominant Fianna Fail suffered a crushing defeat at the polls.

Fine Gael heading for Irish victory: poll

Irish centre-right party Fine Gael looks set to lead the next government - but without an overall majority, according to an exit poll in the Irish general election.

Irish seek revenge at polls for financial fiasco

Voters furious about the state of the economy threaten to force Fianna Fail into meltdown

Leading article: The cost of Ireland's feckless government

After today's general election, Ireland needs a government which can face the dreadful economic realities and manage austerity in a manner which is tough but as fair as possible. The previous administration, led by Fianna Fail, chortled to the public that they had never had it so good, but now a prolonged period of painful adversity lies ahead.

Humdrum campaign puts centre-right in pole position for election

The latest polls in the Irish general election, to be held on 25 February, put the four main parties largely in the order they were in when the campaign opened, with Fine Gael likely to the biggest party in the Dail.

Brian Cowen takes over foreign affairs as minister quits

Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowen is to take over the Foreign Affairs portfolio after a rebel minister quit following a failed leadership challenge.

Merkel upsets Germany with economy boast

€3m ad campaign infuriates taxpayers

Merkel ally quits after claiming Nazis didn't start war

In Poland, she remains Germany's most hated living politician. Her unashamedly revanchist political views once prompted a Warsaw news magazine to portray her on its front cover clad in a sinister, swastika-covered Nazi SS uniform.

Franceso Cossiga: Pragmatic and controversial politician who served as prime minister and president of Italy

It is no coincidence that Francesco Cossiga was both "a sincere Anglophile," in the words of one British ambassador, and a man obsessed with espionage. As minister of the interior during the late 1970s, when the threat of ultra-left terrorism to the Italian state culminated in the kidnapping and murder of ex-prime minister Aldo Moro, it was a necessary fixation, but for Cossiga it was also a love affair. "Some people like flowers," he once said. "I like spies."

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The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
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Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
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champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
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How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
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Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
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'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
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Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

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West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
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Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?