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
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Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor