Firms have a 'social duty' to hire British workers, says Conservative minister Matthew Hancock

Companies have a "social duty" to employ young British workers rather than better-qualified immigrants, a Conservative minister said today.

Doctor Werner Lang: Engineer who designed the Trabant car

Doctor Werner Lang: Engineer who designed the Trabant car

On 9 November 1989, when the Berlin Wall was opened, tens of thousands of East Germans introduced the West to the Trabant car as they drove over the frontier. The car rapidly became recognisable as a kind of automotive liberator. The engineer behind its invention, Werner Lang, remained largely unknown.

Gyula Horn: Politician who helped bring down the Iron Curtain

Gyula Horn: Politician who helped bring down the Iron Curtain

Gyula Horn was the last Communist Foreign Minister of Hungary, who started opening the Iron Curtain. On 27 June 1989 he joined Alois Mock, the Austrian Foreign Minister, to pull down a section of the barbed wire dividing their countries. During the following months thousands of East Germans used the route to emigrate to Austria and West Germany. It was the beginning of the end for East German Communism. In Hungary Horn is better known for a massive austerity programme when he was Prime Minister in 1995. The package sparked massive opposition.

Volunteers next to the River Elbe in Magdeburg

Postcard from... Berlin

Postcard from... Berlin

An investigation by the German magazine Der Spiegel said international conglomerates such as Bayer, Hoechst, Roche, Schering and Sandoz carried out more than 600 tests on patients, mostly without their knowledge, at hospitals and clinics in the former Communist state

Drugs giants used Communist East Germany for 'illegal' trials

Several patients died in tests made possible by massive payoffs to Communist regime

Russian Prime Minister Vladmir Putin is accosted by a topless protester

Putin laughs off topless protest by women's rights group Femen

Russian President Vladimir Putin laughed off a protest against him by topless women in Germany on Monday, joking that he liked what he had seen while sharply rebuffing German criticism of his human rights record.

A man on a chopper-style bicycle rides past the entrance to a construction site for luxury apartments at a 0.8 mile section of the former Berlin Wall, also known as the East Side Gallery, in Berlin March 27, 2013. Four segments of the wall were removed on Wednesday morning, almost a month after builders had stopped tearing down the wall due to protests. Developers plan to build luxury apartments close to the East Side Gallery, which is adorned with the work of artists such as Keith Haring and Gerald Scarfe.

Famous art-covered section of the Berlin Wall removed to make way for building project

Work crews backed by about 250 police removed parts of the Berlin Wall known as the East Side Gallery before dawn today to make way for an upscale building project, despite demands by protesters that the site be preserved.

The Mussel Feast, By Birgit Vanderbeke. Peirene Press, £10

In a Berlin apartment, a woman scrubs four kilos of mussels and places them in a heavy pot to cook as she and her two teenagers wait for the father to return. The meal is his favourite, and she has prepared it to celebrate his expected promotion. Written in 1989 as East Germany's communist dictatorship was unravelling, Birgit Vanderbeke's novella was first published the following year. Capturing the national mood, it won the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, and is now a school text.

Postcard from... Germany

Israeli investigative journalist and gold hunter Yaron Svoray

Israeli scours German lake for Jewish gold looted by Nazis

An Israeli investigative journalist has launched a search for nearly half-a-ton of Jewish-owned gold and platinum believed to have been stolen by the Nazis and dumped in a remote lake north of Berlin during the last days of the Second World War.

Carmelita Jeter celebrates winning Olympic relay gold

Carmelita 'The Jet' Jeter can't fly away from the doping question

Sprint queen returns to action in Glasgow after shattering tainted record in London

Accused Russian spy with the alias Andreas Anschlag appears in court on the first day of his trial

On trial, the spies who talked to Moscow via YouTube

Prosecutors have not ruled out the possibility the German couple worked with Mr Putin

Postcard from... Berlin

If the man who now runs former East Germany's once-hated Stasi archive realises his ambitions for the New Year then sometime in 2013, The Rolling Stones will hold a rock concert on top of the East Berlin building still containing millions of communist secret police files.

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Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
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New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
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By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

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John Moore inspired this Coca Cola Christmas advert
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people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
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New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

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A Rutherford Raiders shirt with the PornHub sponsorship
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Charlie Sheen said he would
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Daniel Radcliffe gives a strong performance in Horns
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Apple CEO Timothy Cook
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The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
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
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

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