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The Baltic state of Latvia is poised to get its first female prime minister after the President and leading parliamentary parties agreed on a single candidate.

Ice Hockey: Hand's late strike edges Britain towards elite

TONY HAND last night returned to the scene of some of his greatest career triumphs to give Great Britain a solid start to their hopes of joining the world's elite. The coach Peter Woods' team won a vital point from a 2-2 draw against Ukraine in their IIHF World Senior Championship Pool A qualification clash at the Sheffield Arena.

Spy who exposed money launderers faces death

FOR THE past two weeks Boris Karpichkov, a former KGB major, has been on hunger strike in Brixton prison, south London. His story, if true, is one of intrigue, greed and violence. And it may cost him his life.

Football: Chelsea 3 Skonto Riga 0 - Sutton seals Chelsea flourish

HAVING WAITED 44 years longer than necessary to experience a European Cup tie, Stamford Bridge was kept in a state of frustration for another 80 minutes before seeing the goals that Chelsea needed to prepare for the next step. Skonto, champions of Latvia every season since the country regained its independence in 1991, were determined opponents who held out long after their left-back Andrejs Tereskinas was sent off with little more than half an hour played.

TODAY'S NUMBER: 7

TODAY'S

ASB urges unity

ASB urges unity

Books: Ace of Spies? More like a Joker

Iron Maze: The Western Secret Service and the Bolsheviks by Gordon Brook-Shepherd Macmillan pounds 20

Latvian citizenship `piecemeal'

Latvian citizenship `piecemeal'

Eating out: Bath time for Lettonie

LETTONIE; 35 Kelston Road, Bath BA1 3QH. Tel: 01225 446676. Open Tuesday to Saturday for lunch from noon to 2pm and for dinner from 7pm to 9.30pm. Set lunch, pounds 25 for three courses; a la carte menu, pounds 39.50 for three courses (drinks not included). Credit cards accepted

Classical Music: Perfect vehicle for a family of four

Bath Festival Contemporary Music Weekend

Travel: Prague is passe, Budapest booked up. Welcome to Riga

Architecturally it is a gem, there's music in the air and the Soviet Union is a mere memory. The capital of Latvia is still unexplored.

Clinton tells Latvia to talk

BILL CLINTON has written to President Guntis Ulmanis of Latvia, urging dialogue in Latvia's dispute with Moscow over the rights of Russian-speaking residents. Russia has launched a campaign against Latvia's policy on its Russian minority, cutting oil shipments to its neighbour. Most of the 700,000 Russian-speakers do not have Latvian citizenship.

Blast at Latvian synagogue

A SYNAGOGUE belonging to the Lubavitch Hassidic movement was bombed before dawn yesterday in the Latvian capital Riga. The powerful blast damaged the building and smashed windows in nearby houses. The same synagogue was bombed in May 1995. Those responsible for that bombing have not been found.

Fringe: One-man Show: Critical Mass

EDINBURGH FESTIVAL 97

Table tennis: Coughing Koyama pulls out of singles

Breathing difficulties forced Chire Koyama, the former world champion who delights in beating her old team-mates now that she plays for Japan, to withdraw from the opening round of the women's singles at the World Championships in Manchester yesterday.

England hopes ended by steady Latvia

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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
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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
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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'