News Backbench Conservatives MPs have been criticised for supporting a proposed ban on HIV positive immigrants entering Britain

HIV and AIDs campaigners have called the amendment "draconian"

Ahmad al-Jarba, leader of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), speaks to the press in Geneva, Switzerland

Syria rebels say Russia is prepared to drop Assad

The two sides in Syria’s civil war are due to start talking on Friday after three years of savage strife.

The secret 'Dishfire' system can read hundreds of millions of text messages from around the world

NSA leaks: British spies were given access to US 'Dishfire' system that reads hundreds of millions of texts from around the world

The NSA has to delete innocent texts involving Americans from the system but there is no requirement to do so for foreign phone numbers

A small triumph for democracy

Defence procurement has been one of the biggest machines for wasting money

Ambushed: MPs have demanded Philip Hammond allow them to question the candidate for head of defence procurement

MPs move to vet candidates for top jobs

Select committees seek wider scrutiny of applicants for leading public-sector roles and less government influence

David Cameron with Sajid Raza on a visit to Kings Science Academy

Kings Science Academy free school founder arrested over alleged fraud

Police say a 41-year-old man has been arrested in connection with their investigations into Bradford school's finances

Thomas Hitzlsperger with the Germany team

Thomas Hitzlsperger gay: The reaction in Germany after former Aston Villa player comes out

The former midfielder, who was capped 52 times by Germany, has received widespread support

Geneva II: Iran not in first round of nations for UN Syria peace talks

Iran is not among the “first round” of nations invited to attend Syria peace talks in Switzerland later this month, a UN spokesman said.

A displaced family camp under a tree providing partial shade from the midday sun

South Sudan ceasefire talks delayed

Mediators said it was now unclear if South Sudanese rebels would start face-to-face peace talks with the government on Saturday, dampening hopes of a swift end to weeks of ethnic fighting in the world's youngest state.

South Sudanese soldiers in Malakal, 497km from Juba

'Back from the brink': South Sudan's warring rivals to begin peace talks

Negotiators meet in Ethiopia as UN calls for end to fighting during which more than 1,000 people have been killed

Children displaced by the fighting in South Sudan wait behind the fence of the United Nations Mission facility on the outskirts of the capital Juba. Tens of thousands of refugees have fled the crisis

UN votes unanimously for more peacekeepers for South Sudan amid reports of mass graves, extrajudicial killings and rapes

Reports have moved the UN to action as tensions between ethnic Dinka and Nuer in the world’s newest nation escalate

French troops patrol in a street of the Muslim PK-5 district in Bangui

EU divided over French plea for CAR military aid

No direct pledges of military intervention in Central African Republic after Brussels meeting

Protesters face a police barricade near the parliament buildings in Bangkok

Thailand protests: Long shadow of the 'Thaksin regime' prompts new crackdowns in Bangkok

Protesters overrun government ministries in an attempt to topple Yingluck Shinawatra, prompting the Prime Minister to declare a new emergency security law

Sir Jeremy Heywood believes part of the responsibility for the failures in the Government's universal credit programme lay with Iain Duncan Smith

Exclusive: Top mandarin hits back at Iain Duncan Smith over universal credit smears

Sir Jeremy personally intervenes to stop Work and Pensions Secretary blaming Robert Devereux for universal credit programme debacle

Egypt expels Turkish ambassador following Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's call for release of Mohammed Morsi

Move comes a say after Turkish PM calls for release of Mohammed Morsi

William Hague arrived in Geneva yesterday, saying things were difficult

William Hague plays down deal as Iran nuclear talks ‘critical’

Negotiations between six world powers and Iran aimed at preventing Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon reached a critical stage tonight, after foreign ministers gathered in Geneva in search of a breakthrough on an interim deal.

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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
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
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