News Cuban leader Fidel Castro, right, talks with Spanish journalist, writer and former editor-in-chief of Le Monde diplomatique, Ignacio Ramonet in Havana, Cuba

Fidel Castro was “healthy and alert” during a two-hour discussion about current affairs last week, a Spanish journalist told the Associated Press on Monday.

Rebel dispute sees Chavez sever ties with Colombia

Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez, broke off relations with Colombia yesterday and ordered a maximum alert on his country's long border with its Andean neighbour, raising new fears of conflict in the area.

Maradona will decide future next week

Diego Maradona will decide whether to stay on as Argentina coach after a meeting next week, the head of the country's football association said yesterday.

Remains of revolutionary hero exumed

Hugo Chavez opened the coffin of his idol Simon Bolivar as Venezuela investigates the president's suspicions of foul play in the South American independence hero's death nearly two centuries ago.

Venezuela in diplomatic row with Washington

Venezuela's top diplomat accused US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of attacking his country for seeking Latin American unity and opposing US influence in international affairs.

Chavez denounces Israel as a 'genocidal' government

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez denounced Israel as a "genocidal" government yesterday as he hosted Syrian President Bashar Assad on his first visit to Latin America.

UN attacks Chavez for bid to arrest head of TV network

A UN human rights investigator called on Venezuela yesterday to withdraw the arrest warrant against the head of the opposition Globovision television network, declaring that it had no right to silence critics.

Johann Hari: When hands across the sea are tied

The argument that outsiders should not be allowed to criticise countries is being used more and more to thwart human rights campaigns

Venezuela's chatty leader Chavez joins Twitter

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez opened a Twitter account on Tuesday, launching himself into the digital fray to combat opponents who have seized on the micro-blogging site to criticize his socialist government.

Chavez threatens to nationalise gold mines

President Hugo Chavez threatened to nationalise gold mining concessions in Venezuela.

Boxer found dead in cell after killing wife

A day after his arrest on suspicion of murdering his wife, the Venezuelan boxing champion Edwin Valero was found hanging in his jail cell early yesterday morning.

Boxing: Former champion Valero found dead

Former boxing champion Edwin Valero, who gained fame for knocking out all his 27 opponents and having a tattoo of Hugo Chavez on his chest, was found dead in his jail cell today and police said he hanged himself after being arrested in his wife's murder.

Chavez claims arrested Colombians are spies

President Hugo Chavez said Venezuela arrested eight Colombians as suspected spies and charged that several carried identification indicating they are members of neighbouring Colombia's military.

Twitter's heady rise has Venezuela's Hugo Chavez in spin

A jailed judge "tweets" to her followers from prison. The director of an opposition TV station uses Twitter to denounce a conspiracy to oust him.

Court slaps media gag on Chavez opponent

Venezuela's highest court barred an outspoken opponent of President Hugo Chavez from talking to news media about criminal charges alleging he struck a police official.

Take an extra three days off to save energy, Chavez tells Venezuelans

When you're stuck in a traffic jam on Easter Monday, spare a thought for the holidaymakers of Venezuela. Their spring break has just been extended by three extra days – but they might have to spend some of it in the dark.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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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?

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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

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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
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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

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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

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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

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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