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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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Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
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Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
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The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
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Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
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Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
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From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

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Bradley Cooper is terrific