News Balal was pardoned execution by the family of his victim

Samereh Alinejad stopped Balal Abdullah's hanging at the last moment

John Oliver is to fill in for Jon Stewart on the Daily Show

John Oliver to take over Jon Stewart's Daily Show

Jon Stewart's Daily Show sidekick John Oliver is taking over the programme for two months while its host makes his new film.

Dozens of men have uploaded pictures to Facebook of themselves cross-dressing

Cross-dressing Kurds in Iran to support women’s rights

A group of men from the Kurdish community in religiously conservative Iran have found a novel way of supporting women's rights: cross-dressing.

'We are heading toward a collision course by the end of the year': Iran will be capable of making a nuclear weapon in two months, warns Israeli intelligence official

Officials believe Tehran is pressing ahead with enriching sufficient uranium to make a weapon

Pakistani troops aid in Iranian earthquake rescue

Members of Pakistan’s armed forces, including doctors and engineers, have been sent to remote areas in the south-west of the country to help evacuate the injured following the quake across the border in Iran.

Pakistanis are pictured on the streets after evacuating buildings in Karachi

Dozens killed as biggest earthquake in 50 years hits Iran

Force of 7.8 magnitude quake could be felt from Kabul to Delhi and Dubai

The new ‘owners’ of the laptop were photographed as they used it by the built-in camera

Tech support: Owner pulls photos after camera helps track stolen laptop to Iran

A British man posted photos of the new Iranian owners of his stolen laptop online – after installing a piece of software that tracked the gadget’s location.

Fulham winger Ashkan Dejagah

Fulham winger Ashkan Dejagah to miss rest of season

Iranian winger has become an important part of Martin Jol's squad

'Iran cannot have a nuclear weapon': John Kerry issues stark warning after meeting Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel

John Kerry, who has returned to Jerusalem for talks on the Israeli–Palestinian peace process, warned today that “Iran cannot have and will not have a nuclear weapon” after a meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu.

Supreme Court may hear secret evidence

The highest court in the land could soon consider secret evidence for the first time after a judgment late last tonight.

Nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan's bombed car after the attack

Iran charges 18 over nuclear scientist killings

Tehran accuses Mossad, the CIA and MI6 of being behind the assassinations

Egypt resists UN women rights text

Egypt’s ruling Muslim Brotherhood has objected to a UN declaration on violence against women on the grounds that it would lead to the “disintegration of society” – a move that threatens to derail efforts by the international community to reach an agreement.

A scene from the critically acclaimed and Oscar winning 'Argo'

State prepares to sue 'Argo' film-makers over its 'unrealistic' portrayal of Iran

Officials in Tehran are reportedly in talks with the lawyer of Carlos the Jackal, the infamous Venezuelan-born terrorist, as they prepare to sue Hollywood over Argo’s “unrealistic portrayal” of Iran.  Several Iranian news outlets, including the pro-reform Shargh newspaper, said that the French lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre is discussing how and where to file the lawsuit.

Ben Affleck, star and director of Argo

Iran plans to sue Hollywood over 'unrealistic portrayal' of country in Argo

Iranian authorities are reported to be planning to sue Hollywood over the Oscar-winning Argo because of the film's allegedly "unrealistic portrayal" of the country.

Osama bin Laden's son-in-law Sulaiman Abu Ghaith in a still taken from Saudi-owned television network MBC

Bin Laden’s son-in-law pleads not guilty to plotting to kill Americans

Osama Bin Laden’s son-in-law appeared in a New York court today, pleading not guilty to a charge of conspiracy to kill Americans.

Glencore traded with Iranian nuclear firm

Glencore, the London-listed Swiss commodities giant, supplied thousands of tonnes of alumina to an Iranian company with links to the country’s controversial nuclear programme.

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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
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

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
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas