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

Provincial minister among nine dead in Taliban bombing at Pakistan rally

Taliban Islamic militants bombed a political rally in Pakistan's northern city of Peshawar today, killing nine people including a provincial minister, officials said, the latest in a string of high-profile attacks.

Malala Yousafzai, left, is visited by the Pakistani president’s daughter, Asifa Bhutto, in hospital in Birmingham

Malala Yousafzai Girl shot by Taliban acts to save pupils from attacks

Malala: take my name off school or pupils will be at risk

The end of the world didn’t materialise and many were left with egg – or other objects – on their faces

11.12am came... and went. Oh well, it's not the end of the world

Everyone from nervous, hasty converts to tin-foiled pilgrims looking for room in a mountain were left somewhat wanting, says Peter Popham

A girl with a marked finger after being immunised in Lahore

Fresh wave of militant attacks sees UN suspend its polio programme

New killings follow the murder of six female vaccinators in the country on Tuesday

Russell Brand takes on the Westboro Baptist Church

The Westboro Baptist Church, featured on our list of Youtube's Hall of Homophobia Shame, and a shoo-in for prime position on pretty much any other list of despicable views, made headlines again this week with an announcement that they'd be protesting the funerals of the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting.

Pakistan: Car bomb kills 17 in crowded market

The bomb went off next to the women's waiting area of a bus stop

Police engage in gunbattle with Pakistan militants at airport

Police are engaged in a gunbattle with militants believed to have been involved in an attack on the military side of an international airport in the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar.

When did it become OK to belittle older people?

Recently I wrote about a highly qualified engineer looking for work just the “wrong” side of 50.

Gunmen assassinate senior women's advocate in Afghanistan

A senior advocate for women in Afghanistan was shot dead by unknown gunmen Monday, officials said, the latest assassination of a women's rights activist in the country.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai

Afghan president sees Pakistani work in bombing attempt on spy chief

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has charged that the suicide bomber who tried to kill his top intelligence aide in the Afghan capital on Thursday had come from next-door Pakistan and that the assassination plot had been "designed" there.

Plenty of welly: Alastair Cook draws admiring glances as he and his bride ride off in a tractor on their wedding day

The Last Word: Let's all raise a glass to the Young Farmer down my local

After his exploits in India, Alastair Cook is about to go from ordinary local lad to global celebrity

Bomber posing as peace envoy wounds Afghan spy chief

A Taliban suicide bomber posing as a peace messenger wounded Afghanistan's intelligence chief in Kabul today, another sign that the government is struggling to improve security ahead of a Nato pullout in 2014.

The mosque would have a prayer hall for up to 7,440 men and a separate facility for about 2,000 women

Rejected: the mosque plan that grew so big it attracted the wrong sort of crowd

A decade-long battle comes to an end - but east London is as split as ever

Suicide bombers hit US-Afghan air base, killing five

A squad of nine suicide bombers attacked a major US-Afghan air base in the eastern city of Jalalabad just after dawn Sunday, exploding bombs at the front gate and sparking a lengthy firefight with both Afghan and NATO forces inside.

Suicide bomb kills two in Afghanistan

A suicide attacker detonated a car laden with explosives in eastern Afghanistan, killing two civilians and wounding about 60 others.

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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'