News The NSA in Fort Meade, Maryland. The Office of Tailored Operations, whose existence is rarely acknowledged by the NSA, hacks computers around the world – harvesting data, monitoring communications and even mounting its own cyber-attacks

TAO was established in 1997 to hack into global communications systems at a time when fewer than 2 per cent of the world’s population had access to the internet

Inside Romania's secret CIA prison

In northern Bucharest, in a busy residential neighbourhood minutes from the heart of the capital city, is a secret the Romanian government has long tried to protect.

Heart problems put president in hospital

Pakistan's president Asif Ali Zardari has suffered a “cardiovascular episode” and has been hospitalised in Dubai, politicians and aides close to him said.

Joe Biden urges Turkey to impose new sanctions on Iran

US Vice President Joe Biden has called on Turkey to impose new sanctions against Iran, while praising Ankara for its role in pressuring Syria to stop its bloody crackdown on protesters.

Raid catches top al-Qa'ida member

Three al-Qa'ida members including a top operative believed to have been tasked by Osama bin Laden with targeting American economic interests around the world have been held in Pakistan.

Howard Jacobson: In my opinion

Howard Jacobson tackles life's little – and not so little – diversions in his weekly Independent column. These three extracts from a new collection reveal a brilliant mind at work

US believes al-Qa'ida is on the verge of defeat after deputy leader's death

American and Pakistani officials said al-Qa'ida's second-in-command, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, has been killed in Pakistan, delivering another blow to a terrorist group that the US believes to be on the verge of defeat.

Al-Qa'ida's second in command 'is killed in Pakistan'

A former chief lieutenant of Osama bin Laden has been killed in Pakistan in a blow to al-Qa'ida that the United States claims will severely weaken the terrorist network's leadership and future operations.

Glenn Wool: No Lands Man, Assembly George Square

Returning to the Fringe after furthering his career in the US, Glenn Wool presents a triptych show built around Americans, with a routine on their customs officers, a story about missing an Iron Maiden gig in Belgium and musings on life as a beaver.

Jeffrey Archer: An unlikely cartoon hero

Jeffrey Archer, who has been the subject of plenty of political send-ups himself, tells Charlotte Cripps why he wants to give his collection to the nation

Paul Vallely: Vengeance is not the answer

Court sentences and communities seek revenge, but that merely perpetuates a damaging cycle

'Killing Bin Laden' film sparks 2012 election row

The White House has vigorously denied granting special favours to its friends in Hollywood after it emerged that officials are helping Kathryn Bigelow to research a movie about the supposedly top-secret assassination of Osama bin Laden.

Bali bombing suspect extradited for trial

A key suspect in the 2002 Bali bombings in which 202 people died was escorted home to Indonesia under tight security to stand trial yesterday, six months after he was captured in the same north-western Pakistani town where Osama bin Laden was killed.

White House denies divulging Bin Laden information to film makers

Moviemakers producing a film about the US special forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden are getting help from the Pentagon, but the Obama administration dismissed concerns on Wednesday that classified information has been divulged.

Nato Chinook in crash-landing

A Nato helicopter crash-landed today in eastern Afghanistan, just days after the downing of a Chinook dispatched to bring in reinforcements for elite troops under attack.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links