Demolition of former East German apartment blocks 'threatens Berlin's socialist past'

Plans to demolish former East German apartment blocks in a prime central Berlin location have stoked fears about the loss of the city's socialist heritage and its seemingly relentless gentrification.

Andre Greipel will hope to finish ahead of Mark Cavendish in Saturday's road race

Medal spotlight on Germany: Out to spoil Great Britain's party but expectations are at all-time low

Spotlight on the main medal contenders: Greipel versus Cavendish is one of several head-to-head clashes with the hosts to savour

Burying the Typewriter: Childhood under the eye of the Secret Police, By Carmen Bugan

Cherishing the keys to freedom in Romania's locked ward

Ikea accused of using East German political prisoners to manufacture furniture

The Swedish flat-pack giant Ikea is today reeling from potentially scandalous allegations that it used scores of political prisoners in former communist East Germany to manufacture its affordable furniture products in the years leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The Moment, By Douglas Kennedy

The past is a foreign country in more ways than one for the protagonists of Douglas Kennedy's novel. Largely set in Cold War Berlin, this hard-hitting love story tears down the dividing walls between past and present, showing how the course of history can turn in an instant. An author of consistently engaging and clever bestsellers, Kennedy has ranged from Stateside dramas to noirish thrillers. The Moment pulls together both strains in his fiction, marrying romantic tragedy with Le Carré-style espionage.

The Saturday Quiz

1. Which actress made her film debut in Julia (1977)?

Become a past master: Berlin's majestic Brandenburg Gate

Berlin: A classroom with a view

A walking tour isn't just a great way to see Berlin, it's also a capital way to learn about its history

Berlin remembers its wall of history

Fifty years after construction began on the barrier that defined the Cold War, Germans are looking back with mixed feelings on the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall. Tony Paterson reports

50 years since Berlin Wall went up

Exactly half a century has passed since construction began on the Berlin Wall, a symbolic reminder of Germany’s troubled past.

Hansjoachim Tiedge: Intelligence officer whose defection to the East caused panic in the West

Hansjoachim Tiedge's defection to East Germany in 1985 caused panic and dismay in West Germany and Nato. The head of West Germany's counter-intelligence department, he was soon divulging all to the Stasi spy chief Markus Wolf.

Detlef Girrmann: Lawyer who helped hundreds of students escape from East Germany

Detlef Girrmann helped over 500 people to escape from East Berlin after the Wall went up in August 1961. He and his colleagues used everything from false passes, borrowed IDs and tunnels. The Stasi declared him public enemy No 1.

Hiding in plain sight: Germany's Neo-Nazis ditch skinhead look

Far-right groups are hoping to win votes by blending in with mainstream society – but they are still clinging to the hate crimes. Tony Paterson reports in Berlin

Stephen King: Latter-day Gold Standard leaves eurozone countries facing grim choices

Economic outlook: The European Central Bank is against a default or any choreographed restructuring

Honecker was forced to resign by secret police

Stasi chief held file revealing East German premier's Nazi links

The Sketch: If the Foreign Secretary's fighting with words like this, we're in trouble

We mustn't laugh but – to paraphrase the Foreign Secretary – you have to laugh.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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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

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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
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