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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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game