News South Sudanese government soldiers wait to board trucks and pickups; a cessation of hostilities agreement in Addis Ababa that should at the least put a pause to five weeks of warfare has been reached

Government and rebel leaders in South Sudan have signed a ceasefire – the first step towards peace in the country after five weeks of violence in which more than 1,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands forced from their homes.

Africa's wind of change, 50 years on

On the eve of Black History Month, Africans reflect on their independence

Ethiopian great sets his sights on 2012

Even at the age of 37, and with the most comprehensively glittering curriculum vitae in distance running history, Haile Gebrselassie is still managing to break new ground. Yesterday it was Newcastle. Next it will be New York. Then there is the new challenge of an Olympic marathon, back on British soil in 2012.

Haile Gebrselassie: The Greatest is finally here for the Great run

He may be 10 years late but the Little Emperor can make up for lost time at the world's biggest half-marathon today.

Minister's night in a family's mud hut with a Tory website editor

It might seem an unfortunate time for a Secretary of State to bed down for the night with a leading Tory blogger, but should the nature of the relationship between International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell and Tim Montgomerie, the ConservativeHome website editor, become the subject of internet speculation, they can at least call on eight Ethiopian children, three cows and a goat to confirm that their union was solely political.

How Lucy's meat-eating made us what we are now

The point in prehistory when our early ancestors first picked up a sharp-edged stone to butcher animals has been pushed much further back in time with the discovery of ancient bones.

Unearthed, the ancient texts that tell story of Christianity

A British bookbinder has restored ancient copies of the gospels dating back to the fourth century, writes Jerome Taylor

Walk the walk: You can help bolster Ethiopia's economic development with some strenuous hiking

Having spent a sticky afternoon winding our way behind donkeys laden with luggage through rocky fields and green pastures, our small group of hikers reached the village of Mequat Mariam just as the sun started brushing the horizon. After clambering over pentagon-notched basalt rocks, we sat at the edge of a huge drop-off eating home-made pancakes, drinking sugary black tea and looking out over what one of the group described as "the Grand Canyon without the tourists". Great crinkled folds of rock stretched out ahead of us, with the sun setting pink behind them and a tributary of the Blue Nile snaking through the bottom of a deep gorge far below.

Zenawi set for 25 years in office

Ethiopian prime Minister Meles Zenawi's ruling party has won a national election according to provisional results, the electoral board said yesterday – a victory that would extend his time in office to nearly 25 years.

Meles claims election win in Ethiopia despite poll fraud claims

Leader seen by US as bulwark against extremism heads for third decade in power

Kenya's dynamic duo smash records

Kenyan duo Eliud Kiptanui and Helena Kirop both shattered the course records on their way to comfortable wins at the Prague Marathon yesterday. Kiptanui, in only his second marathon, roared to an impressive time of two hours five minutes 39 seconds, while Kirop lived up to her pre-race prediction, winning in 2hr 25min 29sec.

Album: Gogol Bordello, Trans-Continental Hustle (American Recordings)

Now resident in Brazil, Eugene Hutz has welcomed new elements into the GB sound, as well as a new rhythm section including an Ethiopian bassist and Latin American percussionist.

British geologist shot dead during bandit attack in Ethiopia

A British geologist has been shot dead while working for an oil company in Ethiopia, the Foreign Office said. The 39-year-old, named as Jason Read, was killed on Monday near Danot town.

Briton shot dead in Ethiopia is named

A British geologist shot dead by gunmen in Ethiopia was named today as Jason Read.

Album: Mulatu Astatke, Mulatu Steps Ahead (Strut)

Following his 2008 collaboration with The Heliocentrics, Ethiopian jazz legend Mulatu Astatke's star has risen appreciably, with last October's New York – Addis – London compilation drawn from his Sixties and Seventies work now followed by Mulatu Steps Ahead, his first new studio album in some time.

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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
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

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
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas