Environment The Nathusius’ pipistrelle weighs just 7.6g and is the size of a human thumb

A tiny bat the size of a human thumb has become the first to be recorded crossing the North Sea from Britain to mainland Europe – before meeting an untimely end in the Netherlands.

Review of the year: World Music

Kinshasa on the beat

Adriano hat-trick lifts Inter

Zimbabwe: 'It's a little scary voting MDC - I'm not sure about the future'

In Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city and the stronghold of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main opposition party, the queues had formed by 7am.

Vote for opposition and you won't get food, villages told

Among the withered crops and dried-up riverbeds in southern Zimbabwe, people are in a sullen mood. The general elections are just four days away, but few people expect their votes to make a difference. President Robert Mugabe has already set up all the systems in place to make sure his ruling party, Zanu-PF, wins a majority of seats in parliament. The government has control of the electoral roll and polling stations, and people in rural areas have been warned that villages that vote for the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), will be denied food.

UN to tackle claims of Congo sex abuse

The United Nations is to investigate claims of sexual abuse by its peacekeepers after conceding that recent cases involving its soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo may not be isolated to that country and similar abuses have probably happened elsewhere.

Rupert Cornwell: Can Europe and America ever agree on the meaning of democracy and freedom?

It's perfectly obvious that Mr Bush failed to enlist those week-kneed Europeans in the great crusade for freedom

John Gray: Not every country in the world can be a democracy

From a speech by the LSE Professor of European Thought, given at the Royal Society of Arts, London

Qureia says he wants 'less radical' cabinet

The embattled Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia sought to defuse a political crisis yesterday by planning a radically altered list of mainly 'technocratic' Cabinet ministers to replace a previous one angrily rejected by parliamentarians.

Whose taste is it anyway?

Today we all think we're experts on minimalist chic. But, asks Nick Foulkes, what's wrong with old fashioned clutter?

Belgium confronts its heart of darkness

King Leopold was hailed as a hero for 'civilising' the Congo. Now a remarkable exhibition in Brussels tells the forgotten history of a brutal exploitation that killed millions and shamed a nation

Miners flee into Congo forests to escape plague epidemic

Plague has killed at least 61 people at a diamond mine in north-east Democratic Republic of Congo, and hundreds who fled into the forests to escape the contagion may be infected and dying, the World Health Organisation said yesterday.

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Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
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Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
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Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
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From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific