Juan Agudelo (r) has agreed to join Stoke once his contract with New England Revolution expires in January 2014

Transfer news: Stoke City close in on United States striker Juan Agudelo

The Potters will have to loan out the 21-year-old

Transfer news: Crystal Palace and QPR line up Carlton Cole after West Ham United deal ends - reports

Former England striker looks set to stay in the capital

Police officers outside a polling station during the 2011 Alternative Vote national referendum

Call for police to guard polling stations and voters to carry ID cards in areas at risk of vote-rigging

Elections watchdog raises concerns about voter impersonation in Birmingham, the London borough of Tower Hamlets and 14 other areas where there appears to be a higher risk of electoral fraud

A pile of confiscated ivory waiting to be crushed in Dongguan, southern Guangdong province

China crushes six tonnes of ivory in crackdown on illegal trade

The illegal stockpile was destroyed in a landmark move but critics say it is just a fraction of the total

'Goodnight, house!': Electronics show CES 2014 promises that the connected home is coming soon

The latest gadgets from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas promise a world of smart objects that will watch, listen and look after us

Teen throws boiling water into girl's face after she unfriended him on Facebook

The girl sustained 20 per cent burns to her face in the attack

Juan Mata, second left, was Chelsea's player of the year twice in a row before the return of Jose Mourinho

Transfer news: Juan Mata agent seeks assurances Chelsea player won't be sold during January window

Spaniard was Chelsea’s player of the year twice in a row before the return of  Jose Mourinho

More than a million pupils have been fingerprinted at their secondary school

Privacy concerns raised as more than one million pupils are fingerprinted in schools

An estimated 31 per cent of schools did not consult parents before using the biometric technology

Cambridge University librarian battles Home Office to allow his Chinese wife to stay in Britain

David Rushmer claims he and his wife are being treated like "political pawns"

January 1st is celebrated as a de facto birthday for thousands of Afghans who don’t know when they were born

Happy birthday to the Afghans who don’t know when they were born

During protracted wars in the 1980s and 1990s, the government didn’t have a system in place to register births

The Ionian island of Oxia, one of six bought by the former Emir of Qatar for use by his family

A Greek archipelago for €8.5m, a Maltese passport for €1m and Polish castles going for a song... welcome to the great European fire sale

For some, austerity Europe is a land of opportunity – castles, islands, citizenship are all up for grabs. But not all the locals are happy

Hawaiian woman with 36-character name finally receives ID card with it printed in full

Janice ‘Lokelani’ Keihanaikukauakahihulihe'ekahaunaele’s old licence only had space for her last name and missed off the final letter

Patients could receive emergency care and the NHS could recoup the cost later

Migrants will have to pay at A&E – and all patients will have to prove they are not foreigners to get free NHS treatment

New government plans mean patients must prove they are not  foreigners – or be charged for life-saving treatment

26 members of the so-called 'Arctic 30' pictured at the beginning of December

Russia formally drops criminal charges against Arctic 30 Greenpeace activists

The protesters and two freelance journalists, including six Britons - were arrested after Russian authorities boarded their ship, the Arctic Sunrise, during an anti-drilling demonstration in September

The former oil tycoon and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky stands next to a poster of himself, part of the Wall Museum exhibition near the old Berlin Wall

Mikhail Khodorkovsky speaks out: ‘I am not the last political prisoner’

Speaking for the first time since his release, Mikhail Khodorkovsky says he will campaign for fellow inmates in Russia and across the world but will not challenge President Putin’s authority

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The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game