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The birds' beauty belies their often menacing and destructive nature 

NSA infiltrated more than 100,000 offline computers using covert devices, says leaks

The intelligence agency reportedly inserted radio-transmitters into computers via spies and unwitting users to crack disconnected devices

The late Sam Berns (centre) with his parents Scott Berns and Leslie Gordon at the 18th Annual Nantucket Film Festival in June 2013.

Sam Berns: Funeral held for inspirational teenager with an ageing disorder

Well-wishers queued outside to pay their respects at the temple where the 17-year-old was laid to rest

Liz Cheney is dropping off the Senate race

Liz Cheney daughter of former Vice-President Dick pulls out of Senate primary

Liz Cheney, the daughter of the former Vice-President Dick Cheney, is abandoning her attempt to win a seat in the Senate, according to reports.

Ned Vizzini: Writer

Author whose accounts of his battles with depression gave hope to young people who were similarly afflicted

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (right) and David Cameron (L) view an honour guard during a welcoming ceremony inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China

'Censorship' row overshadows David Cameron trip to woo China

Downing St make official complaint after financial journalist on PM's delegation banned from only official public event

Protesters call for press freedom in support of journalists from the ‘Southern Weekend’ in Guangzhou in January

Leading Bloomberg writer leaves China office after story ditched

It is another example of Beijing’s increasing pressure on foreign news organisations to drop embarrassing stories about the country's leaders

US network operators reject plans for mandatory smartphone kill switch

Software to deter theft will not be pre-installed on Samsung smartphones, with networks fearing profitable insurance policies will be affected

Wrong words: Senator Rand Paul has been castigated for using unattributed material

As somebody else once said... Kentucky senator Rand Paul exposed for plagiarism

Out of America: He has been nailed for using in a book of his a passage taken from Forbes magazine – but only in America could it threaten his promising career

Google's 'shared endorsements' means your reviews might appear in adverts

Changes to the company's terms and services opens the possibility of 'social' advertising

Author Tom Clancy has died, aged 66

Tom Clancy: Bestselling author of The Hunt for Red October dead from undisclosed causes aged 66

Writer was a canny businessman who managed to turn himself into a brand, spawning successful film and video game franchises

US Government shutdown: What does it mean? And what are the papers saying?

A partial shutdown of the US government has begun after the two houses of Congress failed to agree a budget last night, with the Republican-led House of Representatives adamant they would only agree to a deal if it included a delay to the start of Obamacare, the President’s package of health reforms.

IPCC report increases certainty humans are to blame for climate change. This is what you can do about it....

Right, so, it might not be exactly YOUR FAULT, but it's not entirely not your fault either. The IPCC climate change report, released today in Stockholm, has upped the certainty that man is the dominant cause of climate change to 95 per cent. Pretty certain, overall. And unless you happen to be an ape blessed with extraordinary powers of literacy, the fact that you're understanding this sentence implicates you in the whole heating mess. So here are ten Dos and Don'ts you can follow to cook the planet an infinitesimally smaller amount...

A woman views the Chinese social media website Weibo at a cafe in Beijing

‘Great Firewall of China’ closes for business in financial district: Government lifts Shanghai ban on Facebook and Twitter to make foreign investors 'feel at home'

Banned websites including the New York Times will only be available in specially designated economic zone

Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad are Romeo and Juliet

Orlando Bloom earns mixed reviews for his Broadway debut in Romeo and Juliet

New York critics split on the Lord of the Rings star's performance in David Leveaux's production of the Shakespeare classic

The Sports City stadium is pictured in this artists impression

Fifa medical chief issues warning over summer World Cup in Qatar

The 2022 tournament is expected to be moved to winter

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Independent Travel
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
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
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