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GCHQ has been at the heart of the Edward Snowden leaks and been widely criticised for spying on internet activity

Just what you need to start a coup? How MI5 plotted to use radio-controlled bomber pigeons

Rediscovered post-war diaries have shown that British spy-masters considered developing remote-controlled homing pigeons - perhaps to carry explosives.

Anthony Blunt in 1962, when he was Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures. He was later exposed as a Soviet spy

'It seems pretty clear the pair of them have gone off'

It is 29 May 1951. Two senior figures in the British diplomatic service – Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean – have disappeared and are beating a secret retreat, we now know, to Moscow, wanted by their British spymasters. Soon it will be all over the newspapers, the first big bang from which exploded the greatest scandal in the history of international espionage.

Anthony Blunt in 1962, when he was Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures. He was later exposed as a Soviet spy

How Cambridge spy Anthony Blunt convinced MI5 chief he was 'no Communist'

Newly released diaries of agency's director suggest he was bumbling and out of touch

The threat to Britain from violent Irish republicans, who continue to wage a sporadic campaign, has receded

Government downgrades IRA security threat but warns international terrorism risk to Britain remains high

The threat to Britain from international terrorism remains high but the menace of Irish dissident republicans has reduced, Home Secretary Theresa May announced today.

Daniel Craig stars in Skyfall

From Skyfall to windfall: How the new Bond film will help out old spies

Secretive, mysterious and very difficult to track down.

Xbox-playing teens to be hired as spies

We're used to hearing complaints about how computer games will rot the minds of a generation, but now they have the chance to live out their fantasy and become real-life spies.

Apprentice cyber-spies will be taken on as intelligence agencies seek to harness the IT-savvy talents of the ‘Xbox generation’.

Xbox geeks to become cyber spies

The intelligence agencies are to recruit apprentice cyber spies in an attempt to harness the talents of the "Xbox generation".

Will Self favourite for Man Booker Prize

Journalist and novelist Will Self is favourite to win the Man Booker Prize tonight.

Spy in sex trial is granted anonymity

A spy accused of sexually assaulting a female colleague will stand trial under a pseudonym because it is feared he could be killed if his identity is revealed.

Secret agent Raymond Gilmour who infiltrated IRA to become supergrass accuses MI5 of abandoning him to a life of mental anguish

A one-time police agent who passed on information about the IRA has surfaced in England with claims that MI5 have left him destitute and failed to protect him against republicans.

Absolutely Fabulous, 10pm, BBC1

Oh sweetie, darling! Emmy nomination for the return of Absolutely Fabulous

Crack open the Bolly - the return of Absolutely Fabulous has been nominated for an International Emmy.

Andrea Riseborough, in Shadow Dancer, is a compromised IRA operative

Shadow Dancer, James Marsh, 100 mins (15)
The Three Stooges, Peter and Bobby Farrelly, 92 mins (PG)
The Watch, Akiva Schaffer, 102 mins (15)

It's MI5 here, and this is your choice: leave your son or spy on your brothers ...

Olympics put British spy agencies under pressure

Preparations for the London Olympics have put Britain's intelligence agencies under significant pressure, as the country stages its largest ever peacetime security operation, British lawmakers said today.

The Olympic Stadium will require extra stewards because of fears of overcrowding

'No guaranteed security' for Olympics says head of MI5 Jonathan Evans

It is impossible to guarantee the security of the Olympic Games and an unexpected threat may be the most dangerous, the head of MI5 has said.

Flaming June: The Olympic torch pauses in Liverpool during its long journey around the United Kingdom before the Games begin in London next month

2012 security operation will vet 500,000 people before Games

The Home Office is in the process of vetting half a million people in an attempt to ensure there will be no breaches of security from anyone involved in next month's London Olympics. All employees, volunteers, competitors, officials and media from over 200 countries attending the Games will be screened in the biggest such operation since the Second World War.

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Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
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Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

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Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

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Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

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Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
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The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
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The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn