News View of hundreds of files in the archives of the former East German secret police, known as the Stasi in Berlin

James Hall had been forgotten after serving 25 years in prison – until the very different case of the NSA whistleblower brought the intelligence community back into the headlines

Dutch brass band to play gay anthem YMCA at Sochi Winter Olympics

Kleintje Pils say the performance will be a 'signal'

The Fateful Year: England 1914, By Mark Bostridge: Book review - a landscape filled with strikes, spy fever and Suffragettes

A book that assesses the state of the nation as it stood on the brink of the Great War

A general view of the track as a Skeleton rider goes down the slope at the Sanki Sliding Center

Winter Olympics 2014: Six workers fall from roof at bobsleigh venue, confirm Sochi Games organisers

They were working at the Sanki Sliding Center when the snow went out from under them

Volgograd suicide bombings: Death toll 'rises to 33'

Number killed in rail station attack rises to 18 and bus bombing death toll is now 15, according to news agency

Sir Elton John’s gigs in Russia to go ahead despite anti-gay laws

Sir Elton John’s gigs in Russia to go ahead despite anti-gay laws

The star's  planned shows in Moscow and Kazan will go ahead despite complaints over the country’s homophobic laws, the promoter has confirmed.

A member of Ukraine's opposition reacts to parliament voting against bills that would free Yulia Tymoshenko

'Eurasian Union': Ukraine chooses to strengthen ties with Russia and reject historic trade deal with EU

The country's refusal to meet demands to free jailed former PM Yulia Tymoshenko has led the government to suspend preparations for the signing ceremony in Lithuania

President Georgi Margvelashvili acknowledges that he owes his position to Mr Ivanishvili

Much-reduced role for Georgia's new president Giorgi Margvelashvili

Critics say billionaire businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili wields the real power

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta

UN sees off bid to halt Kenyatta’s crimes against humanity trial

So the International Criminal Court can fight on in its struggle to bring tyrants to justice.

Still sweet on Saakashvili: Why, after all these years, I’ve still got a man crush on Misha

He leaves office almost as reviled as he was adored ten years ago

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych

Ukraine's planned release of political prisoner Yulia Tymoshenko and trade agreement with EU hindered by Russia’s chocolate strategy

Georgia, Moldova, Armenia and Ukraine were expected to sign historic agreements in Lithuania later this month as a first step to eventual EU membership - but Russian tactics may put a stop to this

A map showing what Europe would look like if the ice sheets melted

The life aquatic: How the Earth would look if all the ice melted

A huge swathe of eastern England, most of Denmark, the entire eastern seaboard of the United States, Bangladesh and a huge chunk of China would be lost beneath the sea if all the world’s ice melted, according to maps produced by National Geographic magazine.

Andros Townsend pictured training with England

England v Montenegro: Andros Townsend set for shock start at Wembley - with Jack Wilshere on the bench

The Tottenham midfielder has never played for the senior side

Simon Calder: Where passing 'without let or hindrance' is an empty hope, starting with the US

Road-weary travellers trying to untangle the red tape involved in a trans-African journey or a rail trip from Moscow to Beijing have long mocked the self-important demand contained in every British passport: "Her Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State requests and requires in the name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance".

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures as he leaves the final plenary meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in the Novgorod Region

Vladimir Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Vladimir Putin has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Steaua Bucharest celebrate winning the 1986 European Cup

Champions League: Once feared across Europe, Chelsea opponents Steaua Bucharest went the way of the Wall

An exodus of talent, the end of state support and meagre resources have proved terminal

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?