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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Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

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Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
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Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor