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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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam