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Taliban militants - there was a risk the man could face persecution in Afghanistan for having rejected Islam

Afghan atheist to get asylum in Britain on religious grounds

A supervisor on the case, said: 'The decision represents an important recognition that a lack of religious belief is in itself a thoughtful and seriously-held philosophical position'

Sir Ian McKellen joined Nobel-winning chemist Sir Harry Kroto in formulating the demand

27 Nobel laureates join Sir Ian McKellen to protest over Russia's gay ‘propaganda’ ban

In an open letter to President Vladimir Putin and the Russian people given exclusively to The Independent, they speak out against homophobic legislation which activists say has led to violence and even suicides among gay people

Legal professionals hold placards during a protest against cuts to the legal aid budget on 6 January. The number of separating couples accessing publicly funded mediation or family lawyers have fallen dramatically due to the changes to legal aid

Courts becoming clogged as legal aid cuts affect separating couples seeking mediation

Separating couples are being cut adrift by changes to legal aid, experts say, as the numbers accessing publicly funded mediation or family lawyers have fallen dramatically.

A New Jersey home destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Governor Christie is facing an investigation into allegations of misspending of federal aid earmarked for victims of Super-Storm Sandy

Open season on Chris Christie: New Jersey governor facing investigation into possible misspending of federal aid earmarked for victims of 2012's Super-Storm Sandy

Claims his office accepted a $4.7 bid for TV ads declaring the Jersey Shore open for business that involved his participation rather than a $2.5 million alternative that would not have cast him

A veto over EU laws? This can only be a Mandelsonian plot

What the 95 Tory MPs propose is not just unrealistic, it is unrealism on stilts

Video: Cases against two student protesters dropped after footage shows 'shocking' inconsistencies in police officers' account of events

Two student protesters who faced career-damaging allegations from the Metropolitan Police have had the cases against them thrown out after YouTube footage showed “shocking” inconsistencies in the police officers’ account of events.

US and Russia say negotiations close to ceasefire and aid convoy access in Syria

John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov met for talks in Paris this week ahead of a peace conference in Geneva

Stephen McLaughlin has set up a website that allows users to vote for potential names for his unborn daughter

What happens when you let the internet choose your baby's name?

Father-to-be Stephen McLaughlin has set up a website to allow the internet to decide his unborn daughter's name

Three teams in training to take on the poachers

Every penny raised in the elephant appeal will be spent directly on wildlife conservation projects in Africa. Here's how.

Charities say drug users are switching to alternative drugs created in laboratories because they know they are not breaking the law if they are caught in possession

UK opts out of EU legal high plans

Proposals "fetter UK's discretion", insists crime minister Norman Baker MP

Simon Hughes says some view the criminal justice system as hostile

Simon Hughes: 'Legal profession must do more to reflect modern Britain'

Justice minister wants more female and ethnic minority barristers within 2 years

William Hague, left, with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, right, said there had been no ‘systematic’ torture by British troops

Pressure grows for inquiry into UK role in Iraq 'war crimes'

Senior UK military and political figures could end up in the dock as 400 victims denounce 'systemic' use of torture and cruelty

Taxi firm in Middlesbrough attacked for refusing to carry disabled passengers

Owner of largest firm in the North East of England concedes move is 'morally wrong' but he says had no choice but to act after local authority warns operators over charging disabled passengers extra

A small triumph for democracy

Defence procurement has been one of the biggest machines for wasting money

Ambushed: MPs have demanded Philip Hammond allow them to question the candidate for head of defence procurement

MPs move to vet candidates for top jobs

Select committees seek wider scrutiny of applicants for leading public-sector roles and less government influence

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
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