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Even the room somewhere in Westminster where the historic meeting was to take place was kept secret until the last minute. Once “C”, Sir John Sawers, and his two colleagues arrived, the Intelligence and Security Committee chairman Sir Malcolm Rifkind announced a time delay on the TV broadcast lest anything endangering national security should be said. Mysteriously, the man sitting immediately behind MI5’s Andrew Parker bore a passing resemblance to Nikita Khrushchev. We were, in short, all keyed up.

Hazel Blears: important to steer young away from extreme views

Three more men arrested on Woolwich soldier killing conspiracy charge

Detectives investigating the brutal killing of Drummer Lee Rigby arrested three further men last night on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder.

Stewart Jackson has refused to pay the £54,000 that Ipsa claims he owes on his home

Expenses watchdog to sue Tory MP over house price gain

Stewart Jackson has refused to pay the £54,000 that Ipsa claims he owes on his home

The Sketch: How's an honest terrorist to know what's going on?

One after the other, MPs stood up goggling at their individual and collective helplessness

BBC under fire over local jobs at Salford site

The BBC has been criticised after it emerged that only 26 out of 680 new jobs created at its new Media City site went to locals.

Health Secretary Andre Lansley who was been criticised for his proposed NHS reforms

The Diary: What's the difference between an objective and a target?

Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, has drawn much flack for his highly contentious proposed reforms of the NHS. But let us not overlook what he is doing to reform the English language.

Guardian of propriety behind Liam Fox investigation

Among senior politicians and officials working in and around Downing Street, the arrival of Sue Gray in a meeting is not necessarily something to be welcomed.

Editor-At-Large: Don't blame the looters – blame our hypocritical leaders

In a crisis, those struggling to assert authority rapidly develop a common language. Last week, experts, politicians and community leaders engaged in another battle – the prolific use of "R" words: responsibility, respect and rules. And robust – as in the desired policing strategy. We're told one section of Britain doesn't want to abide by the rules. They don't know the real meaning of respect, and they have no interest in shouldering responsibility. That might be true of many who took part in the casual violence and happy- go-lucky looting and arson, but we need to look closely at our own personal ethics before rushing to blame one age group or social class.

Seagulls land in the lap of luxury after 14-year flight

With award-winning design and padded seats, Brighton's new £93m stadium is just reward for fans' long struggle

Leading article: An intrusion too far

The campaign to pass a new law empowering women to find out whether the men they are dating on the internet have violent backgrounds gains momentum today, as the former minister Hazel Blears and the father of murder victim Clare Wood launch their demand for the passage of what is being called "Clare's Law". The Home Secretary, Teresa May, has already let it be known that she looks with favour on the broad idea.

Violent men could be kept off dating sites

Men with a record of domestic violence would be prevented from using the internet to meet unsuspecting women under plans being considered by the Home Secretary, Theresa May. The Home Office said yesterday that the Police National Database could be used to keep watch on contacts made by men with violent pasts.

Government bid to expose violent partners

Women could be given the right to know whether their partners have a history of violence under plans to be considered by the Government.

MPs and celebrities urged to stand for top police jobs

First elections for new commissioners next May

The Sketch: Parliament's upwardly mobile get to grips with obstacles to progress

The niece of a countess sitting next to the son of a hereditary peer faced a baronet and an international banker's Oxbridge son educated at the third of Britain's four major public schools (and who defeated for the party leadership another old boy from his school, who himself had a double-barrelled name when I knew him at Oxford).

Labour split as 114 MPs say 'no' to voting reform

Britain's biggest union is in talks to form an "unholy alliance" with rightwing Conservatives to oppose next year's referendum on electoral reform, The Independent has learnt.

The Big Society, By Jesse Norman

Confused by Cameron's vision for a new society? Here's the clearest explanation yet...
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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