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

Bo Xilai's trial is an early test of President X Jinping's campaign to stamp out corruption

China sets date for disgraced politician Bo Xilai's trial

Former party chief's trial will test new president's anti-corruption credentials

Two spurred roosters fight to the death

Princess on cockfight charge: Daughter of exiled Romanian king arrested over animal cruelty on her Oregon ranch

Blades were attached to birds' legs and paying spectators were then sold refreshments at the fights, claims federal indictment

Romanian princess and husband charged over alleged Oregon cockfighting ring

Irina Walker, 60,  is the daughter of the last king of Romania

‘A brilliant lawyer... very brave, very independent’: Verges at the Palais de Justice in Bastia in 2002

Jacques Vergès obituary: Lawyer whose notorious clients included Pol Pot, Klaus Barbie and Carlos the Jackal

Defending Klaus Barbie, he sought to emphasise what he saw as French collaboration with the Nazis

Inge Lange joined the SED when it was established in 1946

Inge Lange: One of few women to hold power in the GDR

Although the Communist regime of Walter Ulbricht and Erich Honecker always claimed that East Germany was the most advanced state as far as women's rights were concerned, it proved very difficult for women to advance to leadership positions in many spheres.

Postcard from... Prague

Review: The Breath of Night, By Michael Arditti

Murder, mystery and Marcos all feature as Michael Arditti's gumshoe confronts dilemmas of faith, corruption, oh, and Imelda's footwear

Bell in 2004: his playing echoed Jelly Roll Morton

Henri Alleg: Journalist who fought for Algerian independence

Although forever identified with Algeria and its former colonial ruler France, Henri Alleg was originally a Londoner, his Russian Jewish grandparents having fled the poverty and pogroms of the 19th century to install themselves in the East End.

Bo Xilai: A rising star, he was engulfed by his wife's scandal

Bo Xilai charged with receiving bribes

The disgraced Chinese politician and former rising star of the Communist Party, Bo Xilai, was finally charged with corruption today in what is shaping up to be China’s trial of the century.

Gyula Horn: Politician who helped bring down the Iron Curtain

Gyula Horn: Politician who helped bring down the Iron Curtain

Gyula Horn was the last Communist Foreign Minister of Hungary, who started opening the Iron Curtain. On 27 June 1989 he joined Alois Mock, the Austrian Foreign Minister, to pull down a section of the barbed wire dividing their countries. During the following months thousands of East Germans used the route to emigrate to Austria and West Germany. It was the beginning of the end for East German Communism. In Hungary Horn is better known for a massive austerity programme when he was Prime Minister in 1995. The package sparked massive opposition.

Disgraced French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn

‘Animal instincts exist’: DSK makes comeback in Paris with appearance at Senate committee on tax evasion

Former IMF chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, delivers confident lecture two years after claims he sexually assaulted maid

Knife-wielding attackers kill 27 during ethnic clashes in China's troubled Xinjiang-Xinhua province

Remote village in China becomes scene of bloodiest unrest since 2009

China executes former top official for raping 11 girls

Authorities in central China executed a former Communist Party official for raping 11 underage girls, state media said today, following an online uproar about the latest case of abuse of power.

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

Professor Robert Fogel: Economic historian vilified for his research on slave plantations

Professor Robert Fogel: Economic historian vilified for his research on slave plantations

As a student at Cornell he was a leader in the youth wing of the Communist Party of the USA

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there