News A policeman and relatives gather around the flag-draped casket of a policeman, who was killed in a bomb attack in Charsadda, on the outskirts of Peshawar

The policemen were guarding polio vaccination workers

At least 17 killed in suicide bomb attacks in north-west Pakistan

At least 17 people have been killed in north-west Pakistan after suicide bombers targeted the commander of a pro-government militia. Another 20 people were injured in the attack.

US generals forced to retire early over Taliban attack

The decision follows an investigation into the circumstances of an attack on Camp Bastion, in south western Afghanistan which killed two Marines

The Breath of Night, By Michael Arditti. Arcadia, £11.99

Matters of extreme religious or political belief rarely trouble modern British novelists, whose default setting is agnostic/liberal. The nagging question behind most criticism of Graham Greene is "Surely he didn't believe in sin? In God? In Hell?" A similar worry may affect readers of Michael Arditti's latest novel. Greene would have appreciated the setting in the steamy Philippines, a country corrupted by an unholy alliance of church and state, and the cast of apostate priests, brutal police, and a young protagonist thrown into a world almost beyond his moral comprehension.

Pakistani Christians at a protest rally to condemn Sunday's suicide attack

Christians hold protests over attack which killed 85 in Peshawar church

Pakistan’s interior minister hints at plans to protect places of worship

People light candles during a memorial ceremony for the Christian victims of twin suicide bombing that targeted a Christian Church in Peshawar, in Lahore, Pakistan

Pakistan church blast: Beleaguered Christians fear Peshawar bombing will not be the last

Soon after news of the bombing of Peshawar’s elegantly designed 19th-century All Saints church broke, Pakistan’s beleaguered Christians came out on the streets of its main cities.

The scene in Benisheik after Tuesday's attack

Boko Haram attack kills 87 in north-east Nigeria

The Islamist fighters wore military uniforms and set up checkpoints outside the town of Benisheik

The village of Klosterzimmern near Deiningen in Bavaria serves as a base for the secretive sect

In Germany's Twelve Tribes sect, cameras catch ‘cold and systematic’ child-beating

A documentary revealed the torture inflicted by a religious community on its young

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will be granted freedom of movement from Pakistan

Pakistan to release Taliban’s former second-in-command to help Afghan peace talks

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar would be the most senior Afghan detainee to be released to date

Girl Reading (Malala Yousafazi) by Jonathan Yeo is to go on show at the National Portrait Gallery

Jonathan Yeo painting of Malala Yousafzai unveiled at National Portrait Gallery

Yeo says he hopes the painting reflects 'the slight paradox of someone with enormous power yet vulnerability and youth at the same time'

Taliban insurgents have been released in Pakistan

Pakistan releases seven Afghan Taliban fighters

Country says the aim is to 'facilitate the Afghan reconciliation process'

A welcome sign at Twelve Tribes’ property in Klosterzimmern

Police take 40 children out of sect in Germany after abuse fears

Fundamentalist Twelve Tribes Christian group believes in discipline that brings ‘pain, not damage’

Papua New Guinea, though predominantly Christian, retains a strong undercurrent of tribal religion

Hacked, slashed and castrated: How 'cannibal' cult leader ‘Black Jesus’ Steven Tari met his death

Papuan cult leader had been on the verge of an unexplained Israel trip before his grisly demise

Book review: Band of Angels, By Kate Cooper

In its earliest centuries, the religion of outcasts and rebels had women at its heart

‘Black Jesus’ Steven Tari is hacked to death

Cult leader was a convicted rapist, but local rumours of cannibalism persist

Wentworth Prison and the real-life parallels for locked-up women

The question of why we continue to lock up some of the most vulnerable and damaged women in society for relatively petty offences has yet to be answered

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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

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Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

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The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game