Sport Ice moves: Shiva Keshavan in Vancouver in 2010

When the athletes march into the opening ceremony of the Sochi Olympics next month, one flag you won't be seeing is the green, white, and saffron of India. Four Indian skiers will be participating in the games as independent athletes, but they won't be able to formally represent their country, since the Indian Olympic Association has been suspended by the International Olympic Committee since 2012.

Compound haul reveals links to security service

US investigators say that they are closer to uncovering the mystery of how Osama bin Laden was able to hide in plain view in a Pakistani garrison town after phone records belonging to the al-Qa’ida leader’s courier revealed a link to a banned local terrorist group.

Leading article: A promotion that gives no comfort

The man who has taken over from Osama bin Laden as head of al-Qa'ida is said to lack the charisma of the terrorist leader the Americans killed six weeks ago. But few believe that he will be less deadly. Ayman al-Zawahiri, a former ophthalmologist, is credited with being the man who lifted Bin Laden's eyes from the local to the global in the days when the chief complaint of the violent jihadist was that US troops were trampling their infidel boots on the Saudi soil which is home to Islam's holiest places. Zawahiri alerted him to a whole range of Muslim grievances – from Kashmir to Palestine – and set up with him the World Islamic Front for Jihad against Jews and Crusaders. Some say he was also the operational brains behind 9/11.

Terror leader lives freely near Pakistani capital

On the outskirts of the Pakistani capital lives a militant considered so powerful that Osama bin Laden consulted with him before issuing a fatwa to attack American interests.

Pakistan is '98% sure' US drone killed militant leader

The reported killing of Ilyas Kashmiri – a high-profile al-Qa'ida leader who had even been tipped to assume the top spot – by a CIA drone in Pakistan's South Waziristan province marks a major success for Washington, coming just over a month after the death of Osama bin Laden.

Leading journalist 'murdered by Pakistani security service'

Saleem Shahzad had warned that the authorities might act against him and revealed a previous threat

Return of the Taliban: rebel-held district is sign of things to come

The white flag of the 'Islamic Emirate' of Afghanistan flies again in Nuristan province. Julius Cavendish on the insurgents' march

Travel Agenda: Jersey Spring Walking Week; Vivanta by Taj hotel; Festival of Britain; Sea Life London Aquarium; No 1 Gatwick North; Glastonbury

Today: Pull on your hiking boots: Jersey Spring Walking Week gets underway. Over 40 routes invite hikers to explore the Channel island, whether it's with a Blue Badge guide, in a group or under your own steam; until 21 May ( jersey.com). Meanwhile, check into the newly-opened Vivanta by Taj hotel in Srinagar, Kashmir. The region's first luxury, design-focused property overlooks Dal Lake ( vivantabytaj.com).

Hindus reclaim 5,000 years of history

By restoring temples in the Muslim region of Kashmir, the Pandit community is also preserving its past. Andrew Buncombe reports

Heavy-handed Kashmir police take lessons in how not to kill

After 114 unarmed protesters die, securityforces are desperate to improve their image

India mosque blast kills Muslim leader

A prominent Muslim religious leader was killed in a blast outside a mosque in Indian Kashmir today.

A world of troubles – all made in Britain?

David Cameron blames the UK for a host of global ills. Andy McSmith asks: is he right?

Terror suspect order overturned

The Home Secretary must revoke a control order imposed on a terror suspect, the Court of Appeal ruled today

World Cup gives Kashmir bat industry shot in arm

Willow business is booming yet most people in troubled Indian state will be hoping Pakistan reach final today

Power games: Two nations in a spin over cricket

India and Pakistan compete today for the first time since the Mumbai terror attacks. Andrew Buncombe sees the political and cultural frenzy begin
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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
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

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
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect