News Metropolitan Police of officers entering a property in Marcella Road, SW9, as police targeted a notorious gang in a series of early morning raids across the UK

Senior members of one of the country’s most notorious gangs have been arrested after expanding their drug-dealing operations outside of their south London stronghold to target lucrative new markets, police said yesterday.

French border chief says UK 'a magnet for illegal immigrants'

The immigration chief in Calais has said the UK has created "a magnet for illegal immigrants."

Four members of Naples’ notorious Camorra crime organisation have been arrested for making city centre shopkeepers a Christmas an offer they couldn’t refuse - festive poinsettia plants with prices hiked to over 100 times their usual price.

A Christmas offer they couldn’t refuse: Naples' Camorra mafia members arrested for forcing shopkeepers to buy €100 poinsettia plants

Shops vandalised if businesses failed to purchase overpriced festive flowers

Gang culture: Significant falls in recorded knife and gun crime give hope, but 'things are still tough'

Ministers today claimed that an initiative set up to tackle gang culture in the wake of the 2011 riots was "working" with significant falls in recorded knife and gun crime.

Uruguay's Senate gave final congressional approval to create the world's first national marketplace for legal marijuana, an audacious experiment that will have the government oversee production, sales and consumption of a drug illegal almost everywhere else

If our politicians were brave enough, or even simply rational, they would follow Uruguay's lead and legalise cannabis

For the criminal underworld, the "war on drugs" is an extraordinary money-spinner

Paranoid schizophrenic Karl Addo admits decapitating flatmate Sergio Retamar Marquez with meat cleaver in frenzied violent attack

Neighbour heard sound of laughter as brutal attack on Sergio Marquez was taking place

A protester throws back a tear-gas canister during clashes with police near Government House in Bangkok

Police fend off mass protests in Bangkok

Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters try to seize key sites in the Thai capital

Young female victims of gangs don't ‘allow’ themselves to be used

We expect girls to be good, to know better and to stay out of trouble. Why don't we question the self-esteem of those committing the crimes?

Paul Vaughan, the man in charge of England 2015, knows the Rugby World Cup will soon be here again

Rugby World Cup 2015: Organisers urged to reschedule late kick-offs

England are scheduled to play all four of their pool matches at 8pm

Rudy Giuliani in a light-hearted exchange with Oprah Winfrey

Rudy Giuliani says mafia put $800,000 bounty on his head – but ex-New York mayor admits Islamist terrorists scare him more than the mob

69-year-old was a successful anti-mafia lawyer before entering politics

France’s compromising position: Why a new law to criminalise punters rather than prostitutes is inflaming French passions

The bitterly contested bill to criminalise prostitutes’ clients is heading for legislative limbo

Lautner in Paris in 2002 in front of a poster of his best-known film

Georges Lautner: Director acclaimed for his crime comedies who worked with Jean Gabin, Alain Delon and Jean-Paul Belmondo

The subversive humour and razor-sharp dialogue of the crime comedies Georges Lautner directed in the 1960s was often lost in translation, but in his native France they enjoyed a popularity comparable to the Ealing comedies in Britain. Des Pissenlits Par La Racine (Salad By The Roots, 1964), Les Barbouzes (The Great Spy Chase, 1964) and Les Bons Vivants (co-directed with Gilles Graingier, 1965) featured a revolving cast of character actors beloved of French audiences – Bernard Blier, Francis Blanche, Robert Dalban, Jean Lefebvre, Lino Ventura – and became a staple of television schedules.

A thief in China stole an iPhone but returned the victim's contacts

iPhone thief in China sends victim handwritten list of almost 1,000 contacts

A Chinese iPhone thief may have atoned somewhat for his crime, sending his victim a handwritten list of nearly 1,000 contact numbers.

David Adam Pate charged with murdering friend in South Carolina woodland as intimidating police mugshot goes viral

24-year-old man accused of leaving Ricky James' decomposing body for local school children to find

The remains of a butchered Neanderthal gang have been analysed, showing they were the victims of local cannibals

Cannibal Neanderthal gang in northern Spain ate 12 of their neighbours raw, scientists say

Study shows the early humans butchered their rivals, breaking open their skulls and bones to extract the marrow

Review: Tatiana, By Martin Cruz Smith

Having survived the KGB and a bullet to the head, detective Renko is going strong

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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
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there