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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.

Robin Scott-Elliot: Lloyd takes bull by the horns in Twenty20 cow corner

View From The Sofa: ProBull Riding/World Twenty20, Extreme Sports/Sky

Editor-At-Large: Hard-up mums need to work, but kids pay dearly

Cameron Diaz says the planet is over-populated, and there's too much pressure on women to have children. She's right: I've managed four ex-husbands, a long-suffering partner, no kids and no pets, but deep down, I've always felt I made a selfish choice. My reasons, though, were very different from hers. There was never any question of having a family and a career when I started out, so I made a tough decision. I would never have got this far if I'd decided to breed, taken time off, and tried to combine motherhood with long hours.

Blears says 'sorry' for firestorm

Former Communities Secretary faces vote of no confidence in Salford constituency

Blears faces censure despite walkout apology

Hazel Blears apologised today for the timing of her Cabinet walkout as she faced a battle to hang on to her seat.

The dartboard coup that missed its target

Labour's rebels called it the dartboard strategy – a small circle of insurgents would target Gordon Brown in the hope that another 120 would join the game

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: These women fled the battlefield

Is it sexist to accuse Flint of liking to use her stilettos? Yes – but she asks for it

Simon Carr: True lies... a masterclass in the art of interview

The Sketch: Why aren't people rallying to Peter Mandelson as next leader of the Labour Party?

James Delingpole: Revenge - A dish best left to go mouldy at the back of the fridge

Hazel Blears got her own back, but the euphoria won't last

Battle for survival at No 10: Mandelson key to defeat of rebels

Business Secretary repays 15-year debt as he orchestrates the fightback, with Tony Blair also riding to the rescue. Brian Brady and Jane Merrick report

Beasts vs Belles: Sugar's arrival adds to women ex-ministers' complaints

He has just been given a peerage by Gordon Brown and came to the rescue of the Government in his new role as "enterprise tsar". And tonight, he will select his new apprentice from an all-woman final.

Sarah Sands: A two-minute video is all the truth I need

The publisher Caroline Michel explained the new business model to me over lunch last week. The important thing to grasp was that a book was no longer the starting point. These days the deal could begin with something as instant as a video clip. The video clip could lead to a book. The book could lead to a film.

Joan Smith: We don't do female sacrifice any more, Prime Minister

It was a bloodbath. Last week, like a wounded warrior trying to appease vengeful gods, Gordon Brown sacrificed one woman after another in a desperate attempt to save his own skin. By Friday evening, the stench of burning female flesh rose over Westminster as Margaret Beckett and Caroline Flint were added to the pyre, joining Jacqui Smith, Hazel Blears and Beverley Hughes. The cull was drastic, reducing the number of women in the Cabinet from eight, when Tony Blair left office two years ago, to a feeble four. There are now more peers (seven) than women round the cabinet table and Brown need lose only one more to be in the same position as John Major in 1997. So much for a Prime Minister who portrays himself, morning, noon and night, as a politician committed to fairness and equal rights. I mean, pull the other one, mate.

Howard Jacobson: There is nobility in opting out, in refusing what the world is offering

It’s why I admire J D Salinger from whom nobody’s heard aword for decades

Leading article: A reshuffle that betrays the Prime Minister's weakness

Mr Brown will not be able to restore his authority by willpower alone

Brown moves deckchairs around his Cabinet table

Blairites promoted to fill the gaps left by political soulmates / Jowell and Cooper move up as PM tries to answer female critics
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Winnie the Pooh has been branded 'inappropriate' in Poland
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Ashton Kutcher speaking at Human Rights Watch's Voices For Justice dinner in November 2013
people'What is so wrong about digging up dirt on shady journalist?'
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Jane Merrick rides on a Micro Scooter through St James's Park, on November 18, 2014 in London, United Kingdom.
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Babysitter Katie and Paul have terse words in the park
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American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
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England’s opening goalscorer Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain battles with Scotland’s Charlie Mulgrew
FootballEngland must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
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Make-up artists prepare contestants for last year’s Miss World, held in Budapest
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Wigan Athletic’s back-of-the shirt sponsor Premier Range has pulled out due to Malky Mackay’s arrival
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US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines