News North Korean leader Kim Jong Un walks past his uncle Jang Song Thaek - Jang Song Thaek is reported to have been executed for 'attempting to overthrow the state'

Claims that secretive communist regime has carried out a further brutal purge of those the young leader sees as a threat to his authority

Portfolio: Christian Jankowski reinvigorates interest in Poland's monuments with the help of champion weightlifters

Destroyed by the Second World War, and still raw from both Nazi occupation and its subsequent 45 years of Soviet rule, Warsaw is a city whose history is writ large upon its public spaces.

Postcard from... Berlin

Dressed up in jackboots and the grey uniform of former Communist East Germany’s hated border police, the man-sized bear goose-steps across the cobblestones in front of the Brandenburg Gate. He sidles up to giggling tourists who willingly part with their euros to have pictures taken of themselves being bear-hugged for a souvenir.

China's economic reforms have a long way to go

As you were, apparently. China’s growth in 2013 was precisely the same as 2012, at 7.7 per cent.

Sherlock played by Benedict Cumberbatch as he appears in the third series of the show, which has been a massive hit worldwide

China falls in love with Sherlock as ‘People’s Daily’ calls it exquisite

Zhou Yeling couldn’t wait until 7am for a long-awaited date with her favourite Englishman.

Dissident Gardens, By Jonathan Lethem: Book review - insightful look at radical politics in New York

Music looms large for Jonathan Lethem. In the past, citing Walter Pater's dictum that "all art constantly aspires towards the condition of music", he has said that he tries to make his prose "as musical as I can".

Book review: 'Ping-Pong Diplomacy', By Nicholas Griffin

Of all the subjects for a thrilling tale of espionage, war and diplomacy, ping-pong seems an unlikely contender. All the more intriguing then is the story behind a détente between America and China in 1971, which occurred seemingly out of the blue after 22 years of hostility.

Chinese officials banned from smoking in public as Beijing moves to curb dirty habits

China is the world's largest manufacturer and consumer of tobacco

A man poses with his son as they visit Tiananmen Square in Beijing, where the relaxation of China's hugely controversial one-child policy has been announced

China eases one-child policy and abolishes 're-education labour camps'

State media says China's top legislature has sanctioned the ruling Communist Party's decision to allow couples to have a second child if one parent is an only child.

Members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot were given two-year jail terms for protesting against President Vladimir Putin on the altar of Moscow's main cathedral

Pussy Riot: A beacon of hope in Russia’s dark days

The saga sums up the crass stupidity of authoritarian regimes, whose fear of even mild challenges leads them to endlessly create martyrs

KIm Jong-il (left), unlike his son Kim Jong-un, did not stage show trials

John Everard: I doubt that Kim Jong-un’s uncle Jang Song-thaek will be the last person to die in North Korea purge

Officers in the military will be particularly nervous

North Korean businessmen are summoned back from China after Jang Song Thaek execution

Sources claim 'large numbers' of officials are being called back to North Korea

Jang Song Thaek being escorted to court
Thatcher, pictured with Mandela in 1990, viewed the ANC as revolutionary socialists

Margaret Thatcher branded ANC ‘terrorist’ while urging Nelson Mandela’s release

The Tories don’t have a great record on acknowledging his contribution to peace in South Africa

Books of the year 2013: Fiction in translation

How should authors transform autobiography into self-standing fiction? For Karl Ove Knausgaard, with A Man in Love (translated by Don Bartlett; Vintage, £8.99), this second volume in the Norwegian writer's acclaimed "My Struggle" series mines the everyday material of young fatherhood. Yet he converts it into a stunningly eloquent set of reflections on masculinity, domesticity and the artist's itch to escape.

A Maoist delegation outside London's Chinese embassy in 1967 waving copies of the 'Little Red Book'

London 'slavery' case: The Maoist past of 'Comrade Bala' and his wife, the couple suspected of holding three women against their will in Lambeth

‘If Mao was God, then he was the Pope’, says former activist who knew Aravindan Balakrishnan in the 1970s, when he was expelled from the Communist Party of England

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The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president

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charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
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Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
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voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee