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

Fidel Castro, left, with his brother, President Raúl Castro, at the National Assembly in Havana, on Sunday

For the first time since 1959, Cuba faces life after Castro

Ageing President Raúl Castro, brother of Fidel, appoints new deputy and signals transition to democracy

Bo Xilai has reportedly been refusing to eat or shave in protest

Bo Xilai 'goes on hunger strike' as corruption probe drags on

With no charges and no trial date, the disgraced Chinese leader protests against unfair treatment

The Communist Party of France has removed the hammer and sickle from its membership card

A hammer blow for French Communists

The old phrase “workers of the world, unite thee” is looking a bit stale this week.

Vera Caspary: Succeeded in a male world

Invisible Ink: No 158, Vera Caspary

An author needs to be remembered by the public for something, anything, and here's one known almost as much for a tune as a book. Vera Caspary was born in Chicago in the last year of the 19th century. Her father's death and the approach of the Great Depression left the family penniless, so she began writing for money to support her mother. Moving to New York, she succeeded as an advertising copywriter at a time when the industry was completely male dominated.

Borislav Milosevic: Diplomat who defended his brother Slobodan

Borislav Milosevic: Diplomat who defended his brother Slobodan

He condemned his brother's arrest by the UN for alleged war crimes as 'kidnapping'

Postcard from... Beijing

When China's ruling elite gather for their annual parliament in March, incoming President Xi Jinping has insisted there will be no display of extravagance further to raise hackles about official corruption. No booze, no banquets and no boring speeches.

Greek rioters threaten minister as they storm his office

Protesters have forced their way into a government building in Athens and threatened a minister, as riot police intervened with batons, pepper spray and tear gas to expel them.

Tombstone: The Untold Story of Mao's Great Famine, By Yang Jisheng, trans. Stacy Mosher and Guo Jian

This epic work of testimony and investigation lays bare a Communist crime of the century

Karel Vas: Notorious communist prosecutor

Karel Vas, who died on 8 December at the age of 96, was a prosecutor who came to symbolise unlawful trials during the post-1948 communist takeover of Czechoslovakia. Vas was one of the state prosecutors who played a key role in show trials that used fabricated evidence to hand out death sentences to opponents of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia.

Olga's Room, Arcola, London

This emotionally gruelling piece, originally performed in 1992, was the debut play by Dea Loher who went on to become one of the most acclaimed and widely produced German dramatists of her generation.

Thatcher's revolution, and its consequences: News International offices, in Wapping, East London

Bang! A History of Britain in the 1980s, By Graham Stewart

This top-down portrait of a momentous decade takes the side of its divisive heroine

Ranks of the Socialist Workers Party are split over handling of rape allegation

Trotskyist group exonerated official because it doesn’t believe in ‘bourgeois court system’ to deliver justice

The Sketch: Cameron goes chasing after the wrong fox

It's hard to know who should be more affronted by the Prime Minister's darkly archaic reference to "red pests" yesterday: the country's foxes or the Labour MP who asked why Cameron wanted to relegalise the hunting of them with hounds.

Leftists displaying banners and portraits of the late Chinese leader

Duel in the newsroom... How paper took on Chinese propaganda chief - and lost

Insider tells how Communist official demanded editorial be printed

Editors at Chinese newspaper call for end to party censorship

Editors of the Southern Weekend newspaper have asked for an end to advance censorship.

Sport
Luiz Felipe Scoalri holds his hands on his head after watching Brazil succumb to a 3-0 defeat to the Netherlands
Globo Esporte claims Brazil's football confederation (CBF) not renew Scolari's contract
Sport
World Cup 2014
Sport
Rihanna celebrates Germany's win
Sport
Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer, Alan Hansen and Gary Lineker during Hansen's final broadcast
Arts and Entertainment
Sheeran arrives at the 56th annual Grammy Awards earlier this year
musicYes, that would be Ed Sheeran, according to the BBC
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
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Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor