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Contributions from Bill Clinton, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the late Walter Sisulu, Cyril Ramaphosa, and his official biographer Anthony Sampson

The World Service: A global ambition

Mark Byford, head of the World Service, is pressing for more money from the Government. Never has the service been so important, he tells Louise Jury

Blessed are the peacekeepers - but not perfect

Deliver Us From Evil: warlords & peacekeepersin a world of endless conflict by William Shawcross (Bloomsbury, £20)

Leading Article: Russia's softer stance offers a small glimmer of hope

PERHAPS IT is the time of year, but it is possible to detect a glimmer of hope in even the grimmest of situations. True to the prediction of our Moscow correspondent, the Russians have launched their Christmas offensive in Chechnya. But there is a left-over crumb of comfort in the fact that they appear to be responding to the pressure of world opinion in trying to reduce, if not avoid, civilian casualties. The fact that the Russian forces have stopped saying that they intend to flatten the Chechen capital, Grozny, is hardly a great gain for humanity, but there are signs that they are allowing some civilians a passage to safety.

Podium: Knut Vollebaek: Modern conflicts and the legacy of ancient Greece

Taken from the Fridtjof Nansen Memorial Lecture, delivered by the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs

Letter: Serb victims

Sir: According to Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General, "the deliberate and systematic attempt to terrorise, expel or murder an entire people" must be dealt with decisively ("UN admits it never recognised extent of Serb evil in Bosnia", 17 November). Try telling this to the Serbs, Roma and other non-Albanians murderously expelled from Kosovo under the noses of K-For troops operating under a UN mandate, or the Krajina Serb nation cleansed from its UN-protected ancestral lands.

Letters: UN intervention

UN intervention

Leading article: The UN should be stronger, not a scapegoat

GLANCE AT the headlines, and this would seem to be the age of the United Nations. A UN-authorised peacekeeping force will shepherd East Timor's passage to independence. The UN is in charge of rebuilding Kosovo. A UN report this week was perhaps the most widely heeded warning yet that it may already be too late to stop man-made global warming. We will soon have an International Criminal Court under the aegis of the UN. Truly, world government would seem almost upon us. But opponents of utopia, if such it is, need not fear.
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
News
Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
peopleDirector of new documentary Misery Loves Comedy reveals how he got them to open up
Sport
football
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Life and Style
Virtual reality headset: 'Essentially a cinema screen that you strap to your face'
techHow virtual reality is thrusting viewers into frontline of global events and putting film-goers at the heart of the action
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
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David Bowie by Duffy
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Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness