News Cameron promised to pull the Conservatives out of the European People's Party because it is too pro-EU

David Cameron heads off to Russia on Thursday for the G20 summit of world leaders, promising that he is not going to shy away from tackling Vladimir Putin, pictured, about a couple of very serious differences between Russia’s regime and ours.

John Colvin

Diplomat and spy who served in Hanoi during the Vietnam War

Mongolia: There's a party going on round here

Writers' adventures in literature: Louisa Waugh arrives in Mongolia just in time for the New Year celebrations

Scotland's cashmere factories shrug off trade war fears for record year

SCOTLAND'S KNITWEAR producers are celebrating an extraordinary turnaround in their fortunes after revealing record sales during a year when many expected to go bankrupt in the so-called "banana wars".

Riding Holidays: The complete guide to horse riding holidays

Are you naturally bow-legged? Have you always wanted to be a cowboy, or girl? Is your idea of the perfect holiday galloping through Ghana, rodeoing in Rajasthan or saddling up in Spain? If you're horse-crazy, you'll know a riding holiday no longer means a wet weekend in Wales. If you grew up with Thelwell but want more sophisticated horse-play, Lucy Gillmore gives you some ideas

Fashion: The age of opulence

A fantasy wardrobe holds treasures to inspire childlike wonder - couture creations worth their weight in gold

Books: A phantom menace that stalks the earth

Lawrence Norfolk applauds the globe-trotting, shape-shifting ambitions of an astonishing fictional debut; Ghostwritten by David Mitchell Sceptre, pounds 10, 436pp

The Broader Picture: Fiddler on the hoof

THIS IS DAGIRANZ, a retired Mongolian superstar, playing his horse- headed fiddle to a gathering of camels. Dagiranz was discovered in a local talent competition in his early forties, and duly became the country's most celebrated singer - their homegrown Bing Crosby. His career was long and distinguished: he starred in many films and had a large, faithful following, but when he reached the age of 70 he decided to retire. After living for 26 years in Ulan Bataar, the capital of Mongolia, he made the journey back to the region on the edge of the Gobi Desert where his family had lived for generations, and where he had grown up.

I am drunk, he is blotto, they are bladdered...

IN A country famous for its pubs it should come as no surprise that the British have so many words for getting drunk.
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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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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'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick