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

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
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Arts and Entertainment
James Hewitt has firmly denied being Harry’s father
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
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The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
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travel
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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies looks set to be a dramatic conclusion to Peter Jackson's trilogy
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Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
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Day In a Page

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
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?