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.
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From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
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