If local unrest swells into national protest, will they choose liberalisation or repression

Kim Jong-il set to meet Hu Jintao

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's secrecy-shrouded tour of China came to the capital yesterday for a likely summit with President Hu Jintao, as the North appeals for food aid and Beijing presses its communist ally to reform its ailing economy.

Mystery of 'trip to China' by country's aged leader

North Korea's ruler Kim Jong-il made a surprise visit to China yesterday, South Korean media reported, amid confusing reports about the purpose of the trip and the presence of his son.

Matthew Bell: The <i>IoS</i> Diary (24/04/11)

A thoroughly good egg

Wedding dress claim denied by McQueen label

A spokesman for the Alexander McQueen fashion label has denied claims that its creative director Sarah Burton is to design Kate Middleton's wedding dress.

Rail minister faces corruption probe

China's minister of Railways is under investigation for "severe violations of discipline", a state news agency reports, in a high-profile probe underscoring the wide-ranging corruption that threatens the ruling Communist Party's grip on power.

DJ Taylor: Ricky, don't lose that number

Gervais may have burnt his bridges with LA, Apple says goodbye to Jobs, but Obama bids Hu Jintao a big 'hello'

Video: Obama 'candid' on China's human rights record

Barack and Michelle Obama have welcomed Chinese leader Hu Jintao to the US with a star-studded state dinner at the White House.

Statue marks a major rethink in China's attitude to Confucius

Confucius is back – and raised on a pedestal. The Chinese Communist leadership, which once criticised the ancient philosopher as part of official policy, has sanctioned a huge sculpture of the sage on Tiananmen Square.

US envoy seeks Chinese help to ease Korea crisis

A senior US envoy sought China's help today in easing the threat of war on the Korean peninsula, hoping to gain insights about a Chinese official's recent meeting with North Korea's absolute leader Kim Jong Il.

China vows to curtail rampant corruption in government

China laid out its plans to crack down on lavish parties for government officials yesterday, in an attempt to stem growing public anger about the rampant corruption that is so severe it threatens single-party rule in the world's most populous nation.

American boy, 13, held over protest

A 13-year-old American boy campaigning to turn the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea into a peace park tried to get the Chinese President Hu Jintao's attention yesterday, staging a protest near Tiananmen Square before being led away by police.

The Sketch: Osborne winning the argument? Maybe it's his new Chinese wisdom

Treasury questions. George Osborne answering a range of parochial questions. He's just back from seeing the East. A China observer reports an elegant Chinese welcome from the Premier to the Cameron team: "Wonderful to see you looking so young – you seem so full of energy and I'm sure you will learn very fast!"

Clifford Coonan: The PM's dilemma over challenging China's rulers

It is David Cameron's first visit to China as Prime Minister, and while his Chinese hosts are gearing up for a trade-focused meeting, he will have to raise uncomfortable issues, notably human rights.

Xi Jinping in line for presidency

China's vice-President Xi Jinping was promoted to a key post in the Communist Party's military committee yesterday, affirming his path to the country's leadership.

Nobel row clouds China's five-year plan for growth

The annual meeting of China's leaders began behind closed doors yesterday, with discussions on the economy overshadowed by the threat posed to the Communist Party by the award of the Nobel peace prize to a prominent dissident.

Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Dennis Rodman has confirmed he is not going to the Middle East to 'talk to with the leaders of Isis' as claimed in a recent satirical report
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
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'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
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His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam