Ulster gets its first Speaker

LORD ALDERDICE was last night appointed as Speaker of the new Northern Ireland Assembly, just hours after he resigned as leader of the cross-community Alliance Party.

Troops ready for Ulster flare-up

ONE THOUSAND extra troops are being drafted in to Northern Ireland amid concerns of disturbances at "Drumcree 4" - next Sunday's proposed Orange march along the Catholic Garvaghy Road in Portadown, Co Armagh.

Ulster results deal blow to Trimble

THE PROSPECT of success for the entire Irish peace process has been endangered by a critical fall in support for David Trimble's Ulster Unionist Party in the elections for the new assembly.

Trimble eclipsed by voters eager for change

THE ELECTION has produced a result which will be regarded by many as unwelcome and dangerous, threatening difficult battles ahead in an assembly supposed to help create a new Northern Ireland.

How angry is this man? Today we'll find out

For many Unionists, Ulster's new deal is a bad deal - and in today's assembly elections, they will vote for hardliners like Denis Watson. By Nicole Veash

At last, Mr Trimble has a Big Idea to sell to Ulster

This course is fraught with dangers - Unionism is confused and his own party is a shambles

Blair in Ulster plea to Tories

TONY BLAIR yesterday made a direct appeal to the Tories to maintain their bipartisan support for the Northern Ireland peace deal as ministers sought to head-off a vote against the Bill to allow the early release of terrorist prisoners in the Commons today.

There may be great changes in store for Tony Blair's ministers

SUPPOSE Tony Blair suddenly woke up one morning, did a Boris Yeltsin, and sacked his entire Cabinet. He would lose some brilliantly talented individuals, starting with the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He would be uncaging some big and extremely troublesome beasts, allowing them to roam freely in the wild of the backbenches with goodness knows what consequences. But he could still a form a plausible administration.

The odd couple

David McKittrick on how some people will vote for both Adams and Trimble

Prayers for peace have been answered

Ireland has spoken. David McKittrick takes stock of a momentous shift in the political landscape

Trimble challenges Adams on IRA arms

THE arms decommissioning issue moved back to centre-stage yesterday as Northern Ireland parties began positioning themselves for the 25 June elections to a new Belfast assembly.

Leading article: Give politicians a chance, too

IT IS easy to be cynical about our politicians, especially in a week when one former Cabinet minister has been charged with perjury and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. But, as we wait for the results of yesterdays' referendums, we should consider the achievement of the architects of the Good Friday Agreement. John Major and Tony Blair had no need to get involved in trying to solve a problem which had ruined the careers of politicians going back at least as far as Pitt the Younger, forced to resign when the King refused to allow Roman Catholic emancipation.

No surrender to settlement in heartland of the hard-liners

THERE IS little welcome for the peace settlement at Portadown, the unyielding heartland of Ulster Protestantism. Instead, the mood among many is one of fatalism and anger. The Loyalist cause has been, they say, casually tossed away in the interest of political expediency.

Seeking consent in Northern Ireland: Now for the referendum, when the people's voice will be heard

THE DEMOCRATIC architecture of Belfast, and, in particular, the monumental, in your face, Stormont parliament building looking magisterially down on Carson's statue, is among the most imposing in the world. But it has never lived up to its physical pretensions. Until direct rule, it was for Catholics a hated sectarian symbol of post-partition Unionist ascendancy. And since direct rule - with the exception of a few tantalising months after the abortive Sunningdale agreement - it has been an empty shell, mocking the lack of living democratic politics in Northern Ireland. The lights were on, but no one was at home.

Ulster after the peace deal: Much can go wrong, but more looks right

Here's what could go wrong. Northern Ireland is not a particularly stable society, and its equilibrium has in the past all too easily been disturbed by a mix of political attacks, street protests and terrorist violence.
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Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
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Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
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The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain