Visionary: Barry Unsworth visits Seaham Colliery in Co Durham, not far from his birthplace
Henry Hill pictured in an FBI mugshot from 1980

'As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster'

Thus begins 'Goodfellas', the film about wiseguy Henry Hill, who has died. By Guy Adams

Syrians bury a victim of violence in Homs province on Sunday

Fears grow of new massacre as UN warns of civil war in Syria

Observers are prevented from reaching suspected scene of atrocities in al-Haffa

Navy destroys German mine off the coast of Sardinia

A Royal Navy warship has destroyed a Second World War mine discovered off the coast of Sardinia.

Prime Minister Cameron's aides say he cannot avoid speaking out

David Cameron tells Angela Merkel: act to save stricken economies now

David Cameron will warn Angela Merkel today that the eurozone's future is in grave peril unless she orders action within weeks to rescue struggling economies such as Greece and Spain.

St Luke Painting an Icon of the Virgin and Child,
by El Greco

El Greco and Modernism, Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf
Urs Fischer: Madame Fisscher, Palazzo Grassi, Venice

Careful curators let us see how a rebel Byzantine painter cast a spell over Picasso et al

Raymond Lygo, then head of British Aerospace, in 1987; in business, he found, 'loyalty is rarely given without reward'

Admiral Sir Raymond Lygo: Navy pilot who was later involved in the Westland affair

Ray Lygo was a naval airman who transferred to surface ships, becoming a full admiral, Vice Chief of the Naval Staff, and briefly First Sea Lord, before moving on to be a captain of industry. The latter role saw him caught up in the Westland affair during the 1980s.

German ship 'carrying Syria arms'

Germany's government said today that it is looking into a report that weapons bound for the Syrian regime were loaded onto a German-owned ship.

My Life in Travel: David Starkey, historian and television presenter

'For a good holiday, you need someone to hate'

Rebuilding Europe: Refugees returning to Berlin after the Second World War

Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War Two, By Keith Lowe

In his memoir If This is a Man, the Italian writer Primo Levi recalls that the most terrifying time for him at Auschwitz was not the years of incarceration by the Nazis, when beatings, hunger, back-breaking work and the threat of murder were omnipresent. He came closest to despair during the vacuum between the flight of the guards and the arrival of the Red Army. This period, in which the prisoners were effectively left to their own devices, was characterised by a complete breakdown of all authority, however unjust, as well as the system of supply. I was reminded of these passages when reading Keith Lowe's Savage Continent: an excellent account of the two years or so between the end of hostilities in Europe with the defeat of Hitler, and the establishment of the Cold War order.

Swiss tourist killed in Turkey bus crash

One person was killed and 21 others injured when a bus carrying Swiss tourists crashed near the Turkish resort of Antalya.

Parents can relax while their children take part

Scrum in the sun in Sardinia

Forte Village Resort has enlisted the great and the good of English rugby to teach its younger guests this summer

Beirut: Lebanon was torn apart by civil war between 1975 and 1990, but its capital has emerged as a destination city, famed for its mix of history and modern café culture

Wish you were here...? Cruise firm sets sail for world's trouble spots

Sedate ports of call such as Gibraltar and Valletta are being displaced on Europe's navigation charts by a trio of strife-torn cities: Algiers, Beirut and Belfast. Britain's biggest holiday company, TUI, has set a course for conflict zones for its Thomson Cruises brand for next year.

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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
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas