News Curwen: Oleg Gordievsky called him and his colleagues 'the real defenders of democracy'

Head of MI6 whose achievements included bringing the double agent Oleg Gordievsky out of the Soviet Union

Putin's income is 'modest'

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin earns £90,000 a year and owns one home – a small apartment in his home town – an official income statement claims.

Being Modern: Group discounts

"Zookeeper challenge, £179." "Tickets to Dinosaurs Unleashed, £17." "One dozen cupcakes, £6.50..." They come to your inbox in groups of three. At first, you can't quite be sure what they are. All your device tells you is that you have a new email. How quickly you will become used to the disappointment of finding out that you've received another message from one of those discount websites you signed up to.

Rwandan assassin 'sent to kill dissidents in UK'

Met warns that Kagame regime may be plotting to kill two men

Farewell, Christian Carion, 113 mins (12A)<br/>Insidious, James Wan, 102 mins (15)

The spy who came in for some cold champagne

Presidential candidate Ales Mikhalevic flees Belarus following KGB torture

Ales Mikhalevic, a prominent Belarusian presidential candidate who testified publicly that he was tortured in KGB custody, has fled the country, The Independent has learned.

'My husband phoned to say he was going to the sauna...we never saw him again'

Anatoly Krasovsky is one of many Belarus dissidents to have vanished under Europe's 'last dictatorship'. Jerome Taylor reports

Vladimir Putin and the people

Russia's Prime Minister is feared in the West &ndash; but adored at home, says Mary Dejevsky. Is the reason we don't trust him that we don't really understand him?

Ex-KGB agent sues MI5 over 'privacy breach'

A former senior KGB agent is suing MI5 over invasion of his privacy, alleging his family members were victims of a campaign of harassment and unlawful surveillance.

Germany launches inquiry into 'poisoning' of ex-KGB agent

German state prosecutors yesterday said they had opened a preliminary investigation to establish whether a dissident former Russian KGB Colonel and his wife who emigrated to Berlin three months ago had been poisoned.

Vatican says leaks do not reflect views of Holy See

The Vatican described the most recent leaks from US cables yesterday as a matter of "extreme seriousness". The cables from the US embassy at the Vatican describe its leadership as out of touch, and criticise their refusal to allow officials to testify before an Irish commission investigating child abuse by clerics. Cables have revealed that information requested by the 2009 Murphy Commission – which reported on allegations of abuse within the Catholic Church in Dublin – "offended many in the Vatican", who felt that the Irish government had "failed to respect and protect Vatican sovereignty during the investigations".

Kremlin 'must have known' about plot to kill Litvinenko

The murder of the former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko was likely to have been carried out with Vladimir Putin's knowledge, according to the US's most senior diplomat in Europe.

William Hague warms up Russian relations

Britain and Russia "have had some serious differences" in the past but should seek to resolve their issues through "dialogue and diplomacy", Foreign Secretary William Hague said yesterday as he sought to rebuild the UK's battered relationship with Moscow.

Agents expelled from the US join Putin for a patriotic singalong

Vladimir Putin has met with the Russian spies who were expelled from the United States, and sung patriotic songs with them. The Russian Prime Minister said that the spy ring had been betrayed by "traitors", who would probably end up "in the gutter".

New Russian law revives sweeping KGB powers

A new law which gives Russian security services sweeping powers to question people about crimes that have not yet been committed is being criticised by human rights activists as a dangerous return to the era of the KGB.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
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11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone