News Israel's president Shimon Peres prepares to lay a wreath on the coffin of former prime minister Ariel Sharon

There will be a state memorial service for the former prime minister tomorrow before he is buried in a private ceremony at his ranch

John Kerry's Middle East 'talks': Peace is not made through pantomime

Today’s meeting between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators has a clear element of staging

The Jewish settlement of Gilo, being built in East Jerusalem

Israel approves plan to build 900 new homes in east Jerusalem as Palestinian prisoner release remains on track

Israel is pressing ahead with a plan to build nearly 900 new settlement homes in east Jerusalem as new peace are set to begin.

City of hope: Orthodox Jews and Muslims mingle at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem

Jerusalem Season of Culture: A cultural melting pot with no dividing walls

As Middle East peace talks begin, David Lister reports from Jerusalem on how art is bringing Jews and Arabs together

Netanyahu recovering after successful hernia surgery in Israel

The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, underwent successful hernia surgery today, but will require several days’ rest to make a full recovery, aides and doctors said.

Israel’s housing minister, Uri Ariel, talks to press after the announcement of new settlement units

Middle East peace talks: Tension flares as Israel authorises new West Bank settlements

Approval of project to build 1,200 new settler homes threatens to derail peace talks with Palestinians

Houses (foreground) of a West Bank settlement in Maale Adumim

Israel won't sign EU agreements until settlement clause is removed

Leading ministers would rather forgo millions in research grants than agree to anti-settlement conditions

Editorial: The Germany scheme of Familienpflegezeit (family caring time) is something from which we could learn much

Women's earnings play a huge role in the survival of the nation's families

Shaun Palmer, in stripes, and other young people from the UK in Jerusalem

The Holocaust ambassadors asked to ensure that the crime is never forgotten

How one charity is sending British children to Israel for an education in genocide that they can take home

The London Metal Exchange's system of quoting prices has remained unchanged for over 100 years

London Metal Exchange is an anachronistic world long since left behind by modern markets

The London Metal Exchange – which sets the rules for the global aluminium trade – is one of the few modern markets to retain “open outcry” trading, in which brokers shout and gesticulate to make their buy and sell orders.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Mukataa compound, in the West Bank city of Ramallah

John Kerry brokers Washington meeting to
restart Israeli-Palestinian Middle East peace talks

Breakthrough comes after frantic day of negotiations

Stuart Pearce says it's time for the players to accept their share of responsibility

Israel Under-21s 1 England Under-21s 0 match report: Stuart Pearce rounds on players as Israel inflict final insult at European Championships

And so the final humiliation. What is expected to be final act of Stuart Pearce's reign with the England Under-21 team was another deserved defeat and with it their worst ever performance in the finals. Only Israel themselves, who somehow qualify for Eurovision Song Contests as well as European football, have previously ever returned 'nul points', which they did in the 2007 tournament. Back in those days Pearce's England pups were regarded as brave fighters who only lost the semi-final in one of the longest ever shoot-outs. From reaching the final two years later, his sides have regressed to tonight's low point.

Dame Judi Dench’s stage debut was faintly praised

Labour has an attitude problem

But it's the low-brow electorate's attitude that is the hindrance – just look at the McDonald's ads. Plus, veteran actors' debuts

Berlin to provide $1bn for Nazis’ Jewish victims

A fund for Jewish victims of Nazi crimes says it has reached an agreement for Berlin to provide $1bn (£655m) in homecare for victims.

Derek Boateng in action for Ghana during the African Cup of Nations

Fulham announce double signing of Fernando Amorebieta and Derek Boateng

Cottagers complete swoop of Venezuelan international after Boateng announces transfer via Twitter

Clashes as Palestinians mark the Nakba

Clashes broke out today between Palestinians marking the Nakba, and Israeli security officials.

Voices
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
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
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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
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
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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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Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
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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
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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'