Christmas Shoppers brave rain and thunder storms to hunt for gifts at Oxford Circus

Flooding and gale force winds set to dampen Christmas preparations

A series of severe weather warnings have been issued by the Met Office

Alexander Litvinenko is pictured at the Intensive Care Unit of University College Hospital in 2006 - secret services allegedly asked the late spy to provide 'expert analysis' on a confidential Foreign Office report

Alexander Litvinenko case: Coroner will not consider Russian involvement in his death

The British coroner examining the death of an ex-KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko has today ruled the question of whether Russia was responsible will be withdrawn from the scope of the inquiry.

Pablo Zabaleta

The most underrated players in the Premier League

Armchair pundit Rohan Banerjee considers some of the top flight's unsung heroes

Mark Sampson: 'I am young but I have 15 years of studying and working behind me'

All change as Mark Sampson promises fresh start for England's women

New manager brings in players overlooked by Hope Powell

Prisoners serving less than a year should be allowed to vote, says Parliamentary committee

Prisoners serving sentences of 12 months or less should be given the vote, the Government is today told by an all-party parliamentary committee.

England captain Alastair Cook speaks with coach Andy Flower

Ashes 2013-14: Five things for England to urgently look at before the Fourth Test in Melbourne

The series is over in terms of the urn - but there is much to be learned from the final two Tests

UK house prices jump 5.5% driven by London's booming property market

London house prices rose almost twice as fast as the UK average in the year to October, official figures show.

Ben Stokes and Mitchell Johnson confront each other on day four of the second Ashes Test

Ashes 2013-14: Ian Bell points to Ben Stokes as the sole shining light

England look for the positives as the Ashes slip out of their grasp

England batsman Kevin Pietersen walks off at the Waca after the fall of his wicket

Ashes 2013-14: Geoffrey Boycott hits out at ‘bottler’ Kevin Pietersen

Geoffrey Boycott has accused Kevin Pietersen of “bottling it” whenever he is required to play an innings of patience and concentration.

Lord Roberts of Conwy dies

The life peer has died aged 83.

Former Conservative minister Lord Roberts of Conwy dies, aged 83

Tory former minister Lord Roberts of Conwy has died, aged 83, the Conservative Party has said.

The headquarters of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, on the south bank of the river Thames near Vauxhall Bridge

Iran claims it has captured MI6 spy in Kerman

Iran media reports claim the man was arrested after authorities spent months tracking him down

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Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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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
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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