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
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness