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Firefighters rescue stranded seagull

Loyalists' place at table in jeopardy

The Government yesterday issued a pointed public warning to loyalist groups that more violence would jeopardise the place at the conference table which is occupied by "fringe loyalist" parties.

Stop this balloon I want to get off

Which four people would form your balloon crew from hell? Which quartet would make you ditch so quickly that Richard Branson would look like Phileas Fogg by comparison? We posed the question on Tuesday and readers responded with all the hunger of publicity-crazed tycoons.

Peace plea to loyalists after IRA shooting

Frantic attempts were under way yesterday to persuade loyalist paramilitaries not to break their two-year ceasefire in the aftermath of the IRA attack on police officers in a Belfast children's hospital on Friday.

The town where hatred burns stronger than hope in Ballymena

Sectarian violence has returned to blight Ballymena. Michael Streeter reports on the attacks on Catholics

Major's secret weapon, made in Ulster

David Trimble's Unionists hold the timing of the general election in their hands. But, despite Labour's overtures, they like things as they are

Arms agreement frees Stormont logjam

A rare instance of progress in the multi-party talks at Stormont yesterday led participants into their first substantive discussions on the issue of arms decommissioning, a move hailed as a modest breakthrough.

Lewis reaps a king's ransom

Harry Mullan tells how a Briton's independence has been richly rewarded

Letter: Vision that drew me from atheism

Sir: If the possessor of one of "the brightest, most subtle and most perceptive minds of his generation" ("Twenty-five years of Ireland's Dr No", 20 September) believes in the Devil, the Anti-Christ and God's curses on unbelievers, there can be no hope for the people of Northern Ireland.

The 'stinking red herrings' fight on

While leading parties remain pessimistic about progress, a women's group retains a glimmer of hope

King Rat defies death threat

The leading Protestant militant Billy Wright defied the loyalist paramilitary death threat against him at the weekend by appearing at a loyalist function to declare that he had no intention of leaving Northern Ireland.

King Rat ultimatum puts peace to test

The Protestant paramilitary death threat against a leading Portadown loyalist yesterday developed into a political controversy which could have far-reaching effects on the Northern Ireland talks process.

Looking for a new England

MILTON IN AMERICA by Peter Ackroyd, Sinclair-Stevenson pounds 15.99

Ulster march talks impasse

Crucial talks to agree a route for a large Protestant Apprentice Boys parade this Saturday in Londonderry broke up last night without reaching a solution, although both sides pledged to keep the dialogue going.

SDLP 'ineligible' for talks

Unionists say protest resignation has disqualified party

The bad days are back: more riots, more troops and fleeing families

Troop reinforcements were ordered to Northern Ireland last night as Unionist leaders warned the Prime Minister that Ulster had become a "powder keg" which could erupt into the worst violence since the Troubles began 25 years ago.
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L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
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Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
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Suite dreams: the JW Marriott in Venice
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Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
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Independent Travel
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
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
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?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect