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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says ‘fighting has set Syria back decades’

The dogs of Littlefield, By Suzanne Berne - Review

The Orange Prize winner Suzanne Berne is on familiar ground with her fifth novel examining life in an affluent American village. Littlefield, Massachusetts, is named one of the 10 best places to live in America. Curiously, it also houses an unusually high number of psychotherapists. Clarice Watkins, a sociologist from the University of Chicago, decides to study Littlefield to find out exactly what makes it such a good place to live. She arrives to find a town at war, split between those who want their dogs to be off the leash in the local park and those who object. Opinions become more polarised when someone starts poisoning dogs and an undercurrent of fear pulses through the community.

Owen Paterson has not met any representatives of a food charity since becoming Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Owen Paterson has met Rupert Murdoch, Alan Titchmarsh and E.On – but no food charities since becoming Environment Secretary

 Labour says failure to meet charities was alarming at a time when half a million people have received emergency food aid since April this year

Are you snarky or smarmy? Too much sunny side up will fry the brain

A Gawker essay has ignited a culture war on the value of niceness

A group of Christian vigilantes in the capital Bangui act out what they would do if they caught members of the Seleka Muslim militia

France to ask allies for help in Central Africa

It wants troops or logistical aid to head off a possible genocidal civil war

French President Francois Hollande speaks with French soldiers after he paid tribute to two French soldiers who were killed overnight, in Bangui

Mission will continue, says François Hollande as he flies in to war-torn Central African Republic

Five hundred have died in clashes between Muslims and Christians over the last week

Rescue centre overrun by adorable seal pups in wake of record flood surge

A rescue centre in Norfolk is full to capacity with 100 adorable seal pups following the recent record flood surge that hit Britain.

A French soldier patrols the streets of Bangui in the Central African Republic

After days of sectarian violence, French troops bring calm to the Central African Republic

Fighting between rival militias and random attacks on civilians has killed at least 400 people in three days

A boy carries relief goods, walking past the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan, in Tacloban city, Leyte province, central Philippines

Typhoon Haiyan: As aid agencies mount mission to help victims of monster storm, how can you help in the relief effort?

Agencies across the world are taking donations to support the estimated two million people impacted

Too late: Four-year-old Hamzah Khan died at the hands of his mother

Special report: Elite social-worker course attracts 1,000 graduates, but Frontline will take only the best 100

Rigorous government-backed tests modelled on MI5 recruitment to create robust child-protection teams

Amanda Hutton starved four-year-old son to death then ordered pizza, court hears

Mother with history of alcohol and drug abuse let her son starve to death, court told

Andy McSmith's Diary: PM’s slip of the tongue was more like Putin his foot in it

David Cameron made an unfortunate slip of the tongue at Prime Minister’s Questions when he referred to “the Russian regime” – at a time when he is striving to improve relations with Vladimir Putin, whom he will meet in Belfast at the weekend, in the honourable hope that he can be persuaded to stop arming the Syrian regime. When he met Putin in Sochi last month, he did not so much as mention Alexander Litvinenko, who was murdered on British soil.

A malnourished Somali baby at the Banadir hospital in Mogadishu. Almost 260,000 Somali people, half of them children, died of dire hunger from 2010 to 2012, greatly more than was feared at the time

Somalia: UN’s late declaration of famine in 2011 cost lives

The United Nations has admitted that a delay in declaring a famine in Somalia in 2011 cost additional lives, after a new report revealed that more than a quarter of a million people died, half of them young children.

The Rohingyas are fall guys in Burma's race to harness chauvinism

Sittwe, the capital of Arakan state, is little more than a sleepy, dusty, overgrown village. Time appears to have stopped not long after the British left in 1948. Opposite the town’s golden zeydi, its Buddhist stupa, are the green-painted ruins of a mosque, but today there are few other obvious signs of last year’s violence. The great bulk of the town’s Muslim population has been banished to the outskirts: fishermen’s shacks and a sprawling camp where 7,000 men, women and children live under canvas.

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Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent