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Firefighters rescue stranded seagull

MPs’ expenses higher than before scandal

The bill for MPs’ expenses rose by more than 7 per cent last year to £98m, according to new figures.

Five-year-old boy in hospital after being attacked in school playground by dog brought in as end of term treat

The attack took place in the playground at Carniny Primary in Ballymena at around 9am on Friday

national puppetry archive

Violet Philpott: Puppeteer who brought Zippy to life in 'Rainbow'

Zippy, the yellowish-brown glove puppet who was loud and sought to be the centre of attention in Rainbow, gained a cult status that went beyond the pre-school children's programme's 25-year history.

Fourteen police officers injured in Belfast during continuing rioting

Rioting broke out across Belfast last night after hundreds of loyalists took to the streets in continuing unrest caused by the use of the Union flag.

Northern Ireland MP former aide David McConaghie arrested over toilet camera

A former adviser to Northern Ireland MP David Simpson has been arrested after a camera was found in the toilets of his constituency office, Democratic Unionist Party sources confirmed.

Secret agent Raymond Gilmour who infiltrated IRA to become supergrass accuses MI5 of abandoning him to a life of mental anguish

A one-time police agent who passed on information about the IRA has surfaced in England with claims that MI5 have left him destitute and failed to protect him against republicans.

Giles Fraser: The cross is a symbol of cruelty, not a club badge

How did an instrument of Roman torture end up becoming a club badge for pious Christians? The cross was supposed to inspire terror, and those crucified made into a public spectacle of Roman imperial power. Crucifixion sent a message: we, the Romans, are in control. Defy us and die a horrible death.

The Rev Ian Paisley remains in intensive care

The Rev Ian Paisley remained seriously ill in hospital tonight as his family maintained a vigil at his bedside.

Martin McGuinness: Pope may visit Ireland in 2012

The Pope could visit Ireland by 2012, Martin McGuinness said today.

Ian Paisley shows that Rome's enemies aren't all secular

Pope Benedict's determination to confront Britain's "aggressive secularism" was put to an early test yesterday – but the anti-religious forces which gathered to greet him on the streets of Edinburgh were quite a jolly lot even if their message was a deadly serious one.

Blair pelted with shoes and eggs at book signing

Shoes and eggs were pelted at Tony Blair today as he attended his first book signing in the Irish Republic.

Inside Politics - Blair Quiz Answers

1 The Freedom of Information Act

Andy McSmith: Blair's book reads less like a memoir, more like a long memo to his staff

Compared with these extracts, the memoir by Peter Mandelson is downright racy

Finally Tony Blair reveals his side of the feud with Gordon Brown

Tony Blair has described Gordon Brown as "maddening" and "difficult" when he was his Chancellor but has defended his decision not to sack him or try to stop him becoming Prime Minister.

Paisley's son fights claims he has sold out

David McKittrick reports on Ian Paisley Jnr's attempts to inherit his father's North Antrim constituency
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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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Mark Wright and Bianca Miller in the final of The Apprentice
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X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
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James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
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Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
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Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
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The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

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

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

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

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick