Sam Lesser: Veteran communist journalist who served with the International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War

As a journalist with the Daily Worker and Morning Star for more than 40 years, Sam Lesser was a witness to many of the great events of the 20th century.

Zutons singer ordered to compensate headbutt victim

The lead singer of rock band The Zutons, who broke a man's nose after his girlfriend was insulted, was today ordered to do 150 hours' unpaid work and compensate his victim.

Al-Qa'ida militant admits raid death

A Canadian accused of killing an American soldier as a teenage al-Qa'ida militant pleaded guilty yesterday as part of a deal that avoids a war crimes trial for someone labelled a "child soldier" by his defenders.

Album: Chucho Valdes, Chucho's Steps (World Village)

The master of madly chromatic Afro-Cuban piano, Chucho Valdes sounds right at the top of his prodigious form on this evocation of the jazz tradition, vamping away against drums and percussion with real fire.

Gabriela Montero - 'You don't hear 80 per cent of what goes on in my country'

The classical pianist Gabriela Montero is one of Venezuela's most gifted musicians. But she uses her albums to rail against the regime. Jessica Duchen meets a troubled talent

Hunger-striking Cuban dissident wins EU prize

The European Parliament awarded its top human rights prize yesterday to Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas, whose hunger strike helped pressure Havana into freeing political prisoners.

Hats off to Big Mal, the visionary coach who was ahead of the game

Flamboyant figure who lit up the blue half of Manchester had a gift for inspiring players

Album: Various artists, Afrocubism (World Circuit)

The Buena Vista Social Club as it was originally meant to be, with Malians jamming down with Cubans; except that the Africans didn't show up first time round.

Blair knew of Guantanamo torture in 2002, lawyers claim

Tony Blair was alerted to allegations of torture involving UK nationals held in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay within months of the "War on Terror" beginning, lawyers claimed yesterday.

Blair 'knew of torture allegations in 2002'

Lawyers claim secret Government documents show Tony Blair knew as early as January 2002 of allegations of torture involving UK nationals held in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.

The Business On... Mark Cuban, Owner, Dallas Mavericks

The NBA basketball team?

Zutons singer guilty of club assault

The lead singer of rock band The Zutons, who broke a man's nose after his girlfriend was insulted, was convicted of assault today.

Travel By Numbers: Caribbean cruising

Desperate to drift away this winter? Hannah Capella counts up the opportunities

Laid-off Cuban workers told to raise rabbits

Cuba's communist leaders have drawn up plans to help 500,000 redundant state workers find jobs in the private sector – raising rabbits, painting buildings, making bricks, collecting garbage and piloting ferries across Havana's bay.

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Independent Travel
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona from £629pp
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Prices correct as of 12 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