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South Korea rejected North Korea's offer to take a series of steps to ease tension that included cancelling Seoul's regular military drills with Washington, saying Friday that Pyongyang must take nuclear disarmament steps first.

Lord Hanningfield at court facing charges of false accounting

Andy McSmith's Diary: Oh Lords! Disgraced peer trousers £5,500 in one month

It seems that nothing will ever shame the ermine troughers out of claiming from the public purse. Paul White, aka Lord Hanningfield, an ex-Tory peer, has not spoken in the House of Lords, nor tabled any written questions since he was sent to jail for fiddling his expenses, but figures reveal that in November he had his best month yet for pocketing the £300 daily allowance to which he is entitled just for turning up. He signed in on 17 separate days, which entitled him to £5,100. He also claimed £407 travel costs. That means that in the first eight months since his return after his prison spell, Lord Hanningfield trousered a total of £21,000 in daily attendance allowances, plus £1,736 costs.

'Iran cannot have a nuclear weapon': John Kerry issues stark warning after meeting Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel

John Kerry, who has returned to Jerusalem for talks on the Israeli–Palestinian peace process, warned today that “Iran cannot have and will not have a nuclear weapon” after a meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu.

Guard duty: A North Korean soldier keeps watch on South Korea last week from the truce village of Panmunjom

South Korea backtracks on nuclear test claim as tensions continue to rise across region

A government official said that Mr Ryoo had intended to say that North Korea has long been ready to conduct a nuclear test

Reports of Pyongyang's next missile test stokes tensions in South Korea

Military in the South is in ‘readiness’ amid fears of new weapons launch by the North this week

UK diplomats remain in place despite North Korea warning as Pyongyang moves missiles onto coast prompting fears of imminent attack

Beijing is believed to have sent private messages to Kim Jong-un urging caution

Office workers and shoppers throng the night-time streets of Seoul

The South Korean reaction: 'Pyongyang has been crying wolf for some time'

South Koreans, who have seen it all before, are carrying on as normal

John, 9, Duwayne, 13, Jade, 10, Jayden, 5, Jesse, 6, and Jack Philpott, 7, all died after a blaze was started deliberately at the family's semi-detached house in Allenton, Derby
North Korea’s military strength is paraded in Pyongyang

David Cameron: North Korea nuclear strike could hit UK

David Cameron provoked surprise today when he claimed that North Korea now possessed the capability to launch a nuclear strike against Britain.

HMS Vengeance departs for Devonport before its 2012 refit

Lib Dems hit back as David Cameron pours scorn on their opposition to £25bn plan to renew Trident nuclear weapons system

The Liberal Democrats hit back at David Cameron today after he poured scorn on their opposition to the £25bn plan to renew Britain's Trident nuclear weapons system.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during a news conference in Andorra

You've gone too far, UN chief tells North Korea

Ban Ki-Moon urges restraint as Pyongyang announces plan to reopen nuclear reactor

South Korea warn of retaliation against North's aggression

Kim Jong-un announced a 'state of war' over the weekend

Kim Jong-un watches a live ammunition firing drill by the Jangjae Islet Defence Detachment and the Mu Islet Hero Defence Detachment

North Korea nuclear threat: Kim Jong-un personally supervises drone attack on simulated South Korea target

Drone strike successfully shot down a target mimicking a South Korean cruise missile, according to state media

Last month, North Korea launched its third nuclear test.

US to boost missile defences as North Korean nuclear threat grows

$1 billion move follows increasingly aggressive rhetoric from the secretive regime 

Pyongyang metro station

North Korea: ‘If the US has nuclear weapons, why can’t we?’

North Korea’s nuclear test drew international censure. But Pyongyang rejoiced, says Andrew MacLeod, in a rare dispatch from the pariah state

North Korean soldiers carry out combat training in a picture released yesterday by the North Korean Central News Agency

North Korea cancels non-aggression pact with South as UN votes for new sanctions over missile tests

Pyongyang defied existing sanctions to conduct a nuclear test last month to provoke the US

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Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain