News Nosratollah Tajik: 'Somebody should have to accept responsibility for the deterioration of my health'

For six years the former Iranian ambassador battled accusations he was an arms dealer. Now, he tells Paul Peachey that the political brinkmanship by the UK and the US over his extradition cost him his health

Home office staff paid to compete in tug-of-war contest

Civil servants are being given time off during their working day - to join in a tug-of-war contest, it was revealed today.

John Reid: We must be more alert than ever

The terror threat is constantly evolving. But is our capacity to deal with it?

Simon Carr: Not true – but not quite a lie either

Sketch: The PM put out his favourable statistics on helicopters. The trained mind wondered: "How have they fiddled that?"

The Sketch: Listen carefully, here's a politician that reeks of power

The clouds parted and the Lord came down among us.

Radical preacher sent back to jail

The radical Islamic preacher Abu Izzadeen has been recalled to jail after breaking the terms of his release, prison sources said today.

John Rentoul: Law of unintended consequences

Today's surprise defeat of the Government over a clause in the Parliamentary Standards Bill could be only the first sign of trouble. This law has been drafted in haste, and it shows. The issue over which such Unusual Suspects as John Reid and Margaret Beckett rebelled is not the only problem with the Bill.

Last rites for ID cards read by Johnson

Britons will no longer be required to register for identity cards, says Home Secretary

Brown's authority dealt severe blow as Blears quits

Gordon Brown's authority as Prime Minister was dealt a severe blow today, as Communities Secretary Hazel Blears quit the Cabinet on the eve of crucial European and local elections.

Pandora: Gordon Brown gets the Ann Summers treatment

In what must be one of the most amusing stunts ever to have crossed Pandora's desk, Jacqueline Gold – the beguiling chief executive of the lingerie retailer Ann Summers – has purchased the Google- sponsored link for the term "Gordon Brown".

Archer and Black could escape Lords ban

Plan to expel peers in wake of cash scandal may not be retrospective

Dave Brown: I'm pleased when they hate how I draw them

Complaining to a cartoonist about the way you are portrayed is a very silly thing to do, because whatever you moan about is guaranteed to happen more often as a consequence.

Teenager held over leisure centre rape

A teenager was arrested by police investigating the rape of a 12-year-old girl in changing rooms, a force spokeswoman said today.

Girl, 12, raped in changing room

A 12-year-old girl was raped in a leisure centre changing rooms by a boy believed to be aged 15, police said.

Mole hunts extended across Whitehall

Police mole hunts have begun into other Whitehall leaks in addition to the Damian Green investigation, the Home Office disclosed yesterday as in-fighting intensified between Scotland Yard and the Commons authorities over the raid on the Tory MP's office.

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Lake Garda, Venice & Verona from £629pp
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Prices correct as of 12 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