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.

Passport: 'Everybody was pretty annoyed to find that I was alive'

My passports do not tend to live very long. They usually go rotten as a result of too much time spent in the jungle, and then somebody in some South American country refuses to handle it. I once had trouble leaving Papua New Guinea because my visa had been sucked off the page in the rainforest. It was just like a decomposing forest leaf joining the eco-system. At the time, in fact, I had been undergoing an initiation ceremony with a local tribe and I had acquired neat scars like crocodile bites all over my torso. In Papua New Guinea these are seen as seals of office, or badges of honour. In a way, I suppose, those scars were like my passport of the jungle. But I was too embarrassed to try to get out of the country with them.

Stretched to the limit

The child contortionists of the Mongolian State Circus start learning to stretch and bend their bodies as young as seven. They train six days a week, from early morning to late at night. If they are successful, they will perform around the world. The greatest challenge? To keep smiling. Photographs by Witold Krassowski. Words by Holde-Barbara Ulrich

Mongolian democrat butchered at home

ONE OF THE HEROES of Mongolia's 1990 peaceful democratic overthrow of Communism has been axed and knifed to death in Ulan Bator, in an apparent political killing. Two masked men broke into the home of Sanjaasuregiin Zorig, 36, on Friday night, tied up his wife and murdered the politician when he returned home.

Model behaviour: Marie Helvin

At 46, not only is she still looking good, she's still looking for that one big contract. Hell, she's got a Hawaiian ranch to buy. Interview by E Jane Dickson. Photographs by John Stoddart

Right of Reply: Richard Ayre

The Deputy Chief Executive of BBC News defends the Corporation against charges of recent technical problems

Cashmere war sweeps the steppes

SEVEN centuries after Genghis Khan swept across the grasslands on his steed, another Mongol, Jargalsaikhan, has switched to German horsepower in the battle against the Chinese. Two big Mercedes vans, fitted with beds for the drivers and TV to help pass those long evenings on the steppes, are parked outside his Buyan cashmere factory in Ulan Bator. They are his secret weapon in what might be called the "cashmere wars".

Frontline: Hatgal, Mongolia - Wasteland village saved by its women

Life is tough for Dolgin (above) and her neighbours (right) in Hatgal but the outlook is not all bleak

Mongolia reels from `shock therapy'

IN THE town called Moron, the locals live off their wits. Pitching their traditional "ger" tent on the nearby steppes of northern Mongolia, Dashumberel and his wife, Tsetsgee, are survivors of perhaps the most extreme economic shock therapy in the world. Both lost their state-salaried jobs when 70 years of Mongolian Communism collapsed in 1990 and their village co-operative was dissolved. So, like thousands of other Mongolians, this couple and their five children retreated to a nomadic way of life out on the grasslands, where winter temperatures drop to minus 35C.

Heirs of Genghis Khan ride the steppes again


Fishing lines; Indecent exposure for the fisherman with no face

A BASIC local-newspaper tenet dictates that every face sells a paper. That is why all weeklies, from the Stornoway Sentinel to the Cornish Clarion, delight in filling pages with the firing squad picture: a line of people facing camera, hands crossed in front of them as if they are about to face a free-kick from Stuart Pearce.

Fashion: space oddity

Hussein Chalayan's clothes challenge the viewer and delight the wearer. His spring collection, `Between', explores the relationship between space and light. Styling by Sophia Neophitou. Photographs by Mark Alesky

Review: How to square the slate circle

Richard Long

Travel: Literally lost: 16

The following excerpt has been taken from a classic work of travel literature. Readers are invited to tell us: a) where is the action taking place? b) who is the author? Blackwell's Bookshops will supply pounds 30-worth of book tokens each week to the first correct answer out of the hat. Answers on a postcard to: Literally Lost, 'Independent on Sunday', 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. Usual Newspaper Publishing competition rules apply. Entries to arrive by Thursday 15 January.

Why are they famous?: Mandy Allwood

Main Claim: Tabloid-friendly, multiple-birth miracle gone spectacularly wrong. Latterly, established villainess and all-purpose micro-celebrity. Mandy Allwood, the perfectly ordinary 32 year old who attempted to give birth to eight babies in conjunction with a popular newspaper, is now back in the limelight for being pregnant with a sole infant. An everyday event, you might think. But this is Mandy Allwood. Hence the necessity for photographic sessions in denim skirt and red lipstick.

Explosion kills 61 miners

Battling with freezing temperatures and burdened by out-dated equipment, teams of rescue workers were last night digging through rubble in search of survivors from a massive explosion in a Siberian coal mine which claimed at least 61 lives.
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
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The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
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Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
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BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
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Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
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Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment