Syria report: One is reminded of Nazi Germany

Everyone knows that the Assad regime – from father Hafez onwards – has employed torture and executions to preserve the doubtful purity of the Baath party

As attention turns to Geneva, Assad is starving millions of Syrians

6.3 million people are now in critical need of food

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during press conference in Moscow on 17 January 2014. He has since called the UN's withdrawal of its invitation to the Syrian peace talks to Iran

Syria peace talks: Russian Foreign Minster says withdrawing Iran's invitation is 'a mistake, but not a catastrophe'

His words come after the UN offered Iran a place at Wednesday's meetings on Sunday, which had been withdrawn by Monday

Blair meeting with troops in Basra, Iraq in 2003

Poll: Do you think the barman who tried to arrest Tony Blair for war crimes was justified?

A barman in a hip east London restaurant tried to arrest former prime minister Tony Blair on Friday night, saying he was performing the arrest over the decision to launch "an unprovoked war" against Iraq in 2003.

Blair meeting with troops in Basra, Iraq in 2003

The day I tried (and failed) to arrest Tony Blair for war crimes: Barman attempts to detain former PM at trendy Shoreditch restaurant

One is an internationally renowned statesman; the other was a barman working at one of east London’s hippest restaurants. But it was the former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who came out on top in an unusual clash on Friday. He managed to use his years of verbal dexterity – some would put it less politely – to talk himself out of what could have been a humiliating situation: a citizen’s arrest.

Civilians at the site of a car bomb attack in the town of Tuz Khurmatu, north of Baghdad

Series of bombings leave deadly trail across Baghdad

Iraqi authorities say a series of bombings across Baghdad, targeting marketplaces and two court buildings, has killed 21 people.

Syrian opposition back out of peace talks after UN invites Iran to attend

‘Geneva II’ conference could be in jeopardy after UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon invites Iran to preliminary meeting

A Syrian rebel support group has threatened to blow up the Atomium in Brussels

Jihadists construct the Atomium bomb: YouTube video threat to Belgian tourist attraction

A plot to attack the Belgian capital stokes fears Europe will targeted by radicalised fighters returning from Syria. Charlotte McDonald-Gibson reports from Brussels

Robert Fisk: Egyptians – or 98.1% of them – carry on a proud tradition

This is such stuff as dreams are made on, enough to banish any nightmares troubling the sleep of Egypt’s army commander, General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi

Carnage: A Kabul policeman surveys the damage

Foreigners targeted in Afghanistan blast as Labour MEP candidate Del Singh one of two Britons killed in Kabul attack which killed 21

Two Britons and four UN members were among the 21 people killed in the restaurant attack

Foreign Office confirms Briton among more than a dozen people killed in Afghanistan suicide bomb attack

A Briton was among more than a dozen people killed in a suicide attack on a restaurant in Kabul, the Foreign Office has confirmed.

A child refugee from the northern province of Raqqa in Syria, reacts from the cold weather in a Syrian refugee camp beside the Lebanese border town of Arsal, in eastern Bekaa Valley

We must offer a place of safety to those fleeing the Syrian conflict

The UN has called on western governments to offer 30,000 resettlement places

Liam Culverhouse has been jailed for six years for causing the death of his 20 month old daughter

Traumatised Afghan veteran jailed for killing 20-month-old daughter

A soldier left traumatised after being severely wounded during a surprise attack in Afghanistan and witnessing the deaths of five of his colleagues was jailed for six years yesterday for killing his 20-month old daughter.

In today's relaxed Tehran, headscarves are being worn back from the face

Jack Straw: In Hasan Rouhani’s Iran, you can feel the winds of change

Ex-home secretary Jack Straw returns from a visit to Tehran convinced that it’s time for the West to rethink its relationship with the regime

Free Syrian Army fighters carry their weapons as they run for cover in Daraya, near Damascus; Syamend Farhan says he is just happy to have escaped the terror of Syria

Syria civil war: You saved me, but I just think about the family I left behind

The story of one Syrian's journey from Damascus to Manchester

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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'