Ariel Sharon dead: How Israel's 'sleeping giant' was kept in a coma for eight years

From being struck down by the stroke in January 2006 to his eventual death, the iconic leader refused to go quickly. Jeremy Laurance on Ariel Sharon's medical journey

Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon pictured in 2005

Timeline: The life of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

From son of Russian immigrants to one of Israel's most influential and controversial leaders

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon pauses during the weekly cabinet meeting in his Jerusalem office. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has been in a coma for eight years, clings to life after a decline in the functioning of various bodily organs, his doctors say, Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014.

Ariel Sharon dies: Former Israeli Prime Minister's life in pictures

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has died aged 85, according to Israeli radio, quoting a relative of his family.

Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon pictured in 2005

Ariel Sharon dies aged 85: Barack Obama praises former prime minister for 'dedicating his life to the State of Israel'

The former Israeli Prime Minister suffered a rapid deterioration in his condition this week, which caused his organs to fail

US jobs shock creates doubt over Federal Reserve taper

A weak jobs report sent US government bond yields tumbling on Friday and created fresh uncertainty over the pace of the Federal Reserve’s tapering of its monetary stimulus programme.

National Crime Agency reins in attempts to seize tycoon Israel Perry’s assets

The new National Crime Agency is facing a major embarrassment after it abandoned most of its attempts to seize the UK and US assets of Israel Perry, the Israeli tycoon who is also suing the agency for £10m for compensation of losses allegedly caused by the lawsuit.

Cineworld announced a merger with a Polish-listed rival

Polish merger makes Cineworld one of Europe's biggest chains

Cineworld announced a merger with a Polish-listed rival that sees it become one of Europe's biggest cinema chains, sending its shares jumping 4 per cent.

Cineworld to buy European cinema chain in £500m deal

Cineworld is set to acquire one of Europe's largest cinema operators in a blockbuster deal that will boost its estate to almost 2,000 screens.

Postcard from... Tel Aviv

US Secretary of State John Kerry in Israel earlier this week

Part broker, part bulldozer: John Kerry’s quest for Middle East peace is about steel as much as soft soap

Currently into his 10th round of shuttle diplomacy, the United States Secretary of State knows the process demands very particular skills

G4S contracts in Israeli occupied territories face major investigation

OECD to examine the controversial firm’s alleged supply of surveillance kit

The News Matrix: Tuesday 7 January 2014

Most Britons back halt to immigration

Nathan Filer, 32, is a lecturer but also works in mental health

Mental health nurse Nathan Filer wins Costa first novel prize with The Shock of the Fall

Nathan Filer's novel explores a man's descent into mental illness

Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon pictured in 2005

Ariel Sharon in critical condition: The former Israeli prime minister needs 'miracle' to survive, hospital spokesperson says

Ariel Sharon needs a “miracle” to survive, the head of Sheba Medical Center, Ze’ev Rotstein, has said.

US Secretary of State John Kerry that the United States will support Iraq's fight against al-Qa'ida-linked militants who have overrun two cities, but won't send in American troops

US will support Iraq but won't send in troops, says John Kerry

US Secretary of State says militants are trying to destabilise the region

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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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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
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Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
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Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
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Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
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Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
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Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
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X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
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'