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Item believed to have been cut from stuffed head in Cork mansion safari room

Former US diplomat Richard Haass and co-chair Meghan O'Sullivan speak at the Stormont hotel in Belfast. Overnight talks failed to find agreement on any of three topics

Disappointment as Northern Irish deal eludes parties

“This process is not dead, but it is far from finished,” says American diplomat chairing talks

Six people taken hospitalised after stabbings at two properties near Belfast

Two people were seriously hurt and four others injured after they were stabbed in two houses in a town just north of Belfast.

Silviniaco Conti turns tables on Cue Card to restore Nicholls’ King George crown

Another day, another race. Silviniaco Conti, only third behind Cue Card when the pair met in the Betfair Chase at Haydock last month, took glorious revenge yesterday in the second of the domestic season’s four top-level staying chases, the King George VI Chase at Kempton. And the seven-year-old’s three-and-a-half-length defeat of his rival has sent him to the head of the market for the third, and most important, the Cheltenham Gold Cup itself.

James Gray enjoys lunch at The Holiday Inn in Sutton with Marian and John Cunningham

Come dine with me: Couple respond to pensioner James Gray's newspaper advert for company on Christmas Day

Irish couple were among thousands of people around the world who were touched by James’s story

Last Thursday Jamie Reynolds, 23, was sentenced to life in prison for Georgia's (pictured) murder

Georgia Williams murder case: Vicar calls for ban on violent online pornography

The Government must “take more responsibility” in stopping violent online pornography, the vicar from the town of the murdered teenager Georgia Williams has said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin: Soviet leader Joseph Stalin was no worse than Oliver Cromwell

The Russian President made the comments at a press conference after he was asked about a monument to Stalin being put up in Moscow

Dixons posts first profit in six years following rival Comet exit

Dixons, owner of PC World and Currys, has returned to a profit after six years, as it continues to feel the benefits of rival Comet’s demise.

Market Report: Traders bet US Fed will keep the taps turned on into the  new year

A two-day meeting kicks off today at the US Federal Reserve to decide whether to bring to an end to the quantitative easing sooner rather than later.

Enda Kenny thanks Ireland as country exits its bailout programme

Ireland set to return to the money markets as the first euro zone nation to have completed a strict bailout programme

Harlequins’ Charlie Walker breaks a tackle to score a try against Racing Metro

Heineken Cup round-up: 'Harlequins can complete great fightback,' says Director of Rugby Connor O'Shea

Conor O’Shea believes Harlequins can clinch a remarkable comeback and qualify for the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup after earning their second successive victory over big-spending Racing Metro.

Unemployed told to leave Ireland in desperate move to slash welfare costs

Ireland is asking its citizens to leave the country if they can't find a job in a desperate bid to slash welfare costs.

Australia captain Michael Clarke has been named the player and test cricketer of the year by the ICC

Australia captain Michael Clarke named ICC player of the year

Clarke also bags the test cricketer of the year award on the day he plays his 100th Test for his country

RSA shares crash as chief executive Simon Lee quits after third profit warning

Insurance giant warns its dividend could be cut again and its shares plummet

Horsemeat report calls for food police force

The UK needs to set up a specialist food crime unit following the horsemeat scandal, a Government-commissioned report has recommended.

South African prop CJ van der Linde has joined London Irish after their takeover by a London-based Irish consortium was completed

London Irish confirm takeover as well as signing of South African prop CJ van der Linde

A consortium of London-based Irish businessman have taken over the Aviva Premiership club

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War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?