Colin Firth and Emma Thompson, a Refugee Council patron, have called for the UK to offer a safe haven to Syrian refugees

Emma Thompson and Colin Firth call for UK to offer Syrian refugees a safe haven

Stars say 'money is not enough' and urge David Cameron to join other western leaders in providing places for 30,000 of the most vulnerable

A picture of General Sisi is held aloft at a polling station in Cairo

Egypt votes for a new constitution - and to legitimise an army coup

Observers say the referendum is an attempt by the authorities to secure a nationwide stamp of approval for the coup that unseated former President Mohamed Morsi last July

Russia and US unite to push for Syria ceasefire as Kerry and Lavrov meet in Paris

Powers call for humanitarian aid as rebels fight each other

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'

Rebel groups now fight each other as well as the army

'You need to go to Geneva': Opposition source reveals threat made by Britain and US over Syria peace talks

The two Western powers could withdraw support from the rebels unless they attend

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

On guard: Ariel Sharon as a commander in the 1948 war of independence

I shall mourn Ariel Sharon's life, not his death

Sharon deliberately deceived his Cabinet. He devastated Beirut, leaving 300 dead in a day and looked on approvingly as fascist militias entered refugee camps to rape, murder and torture thousands of Palestinians

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a state memorial service for Israel's former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at Israel's parliament, the Knesset on 13 January 2014 in Jerusalem, Israel

Ariel Sharon memorial: Israel holds memorial ceremony for 'fearless warrior'

Hundreds of Israeli VIPs and international dignitaries attended a state memorial ceremony for the late Ariel Sharon on Monday, remembering the controversial former prime minister as a fearless warrior and bold leader who devoted his life to protecting his country's security.

Spozhmai, 10, who was about to be used by the Taliban as a suicide bomber, talks as she sits at a police office in Helmand province on 6 January 2014

Afghan suicide vest girl ‘treated like a slave’ by family who tried to make her blow up police checkpoint

The girl, believed to be around 10 years old, said she would rather kill herself than be sent back home

A 2010 photograph showing an general view of the nuclear power plant in Bushehr, Iran

Iran agrees to daily inspections as it reaches interim nuclear deal with world powers

Decision sets clock running on six-month deadline for a final nuclear agreement, ending crippling sanctions

The News Matrix: Monday 13 January 2014

Experts push for Iraq war crimes inquiry

Israelis pass by the coffin of Ariel Sharon at the Knesset plaza in Jerusalem

Ariel Sharon: A hawk who might just have liberated the Palestinians

What would have happened if Ariel Sharon had not been struck down by his stroke in January 2006? Could the man Palestinians saw as the butcher of Beirut, who had urged Jewish settlers to grab every hilltop in the West Bank – and provided the spark that ignited the second intifada – have been the  general-politician to end the occupation, in a local version of De Gaulle’s withdrawal from Algeria?

Israel’s President Shimon Peres lays a wreath at the coffin of the former Prime Minister in Knesset Plaza, Jerusalem

Israel’s former prime minister Ariel Sharon wins praise from US presidents, but universal disdain on the West Bank

Former leader tol be buried on a hilltop overlooking his family’s Sycamore Ranch in the southern Negev region, alongside his late wife Lily

General Sisi is waiting for the referendum results

Army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi lays bare his ambition to rule over a divided Egypt

Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood supporters, who accuse the army of staging a coup, have held frequent protests calling for his reinstatement

Israel's president Shimon Peres prepares to lay a wreath on the coffin of former prime minister Ariel Sharon

Ariel Sharon’s body lies in state outside Knesset as Israelis come to pay their respects

There will be a state memorial service for the former prime minister tomorrow before he is buried in a private ceremony at his ranch

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
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As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links