News

Chongjin camp gets 2.8 user rating

Maldives cabinet meets underwater to stress threat from rising sea levels

The president of the Maldives is desperate for the world to know how seriously his government takes the threat of climate change and rising sea levels to the survival of his country. He wants his ministers to know as well.

Vietnam frees blogger ahead of Australia visit

Vietnam has freed a blogger who was recently detained over a plan to distribute anti-China T-shirts, he said on Sunday, as Communist Party chief Nong Duc Manh prepared to leave on a visit to Australia and New Zealand.

Observations: Proms brings Israeli and Arab musicians together in perfect harmony

Expect queues across Kensington today and Saturday when Daniel Barenboim and his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra come to the Proms. The orchestra has been hugely lauded for bringing together young Israeli and Arab musicians in shared endeavour; their musical success is phenomenal, and Barenboim has always stressed that the organisation's raison d'être is artistic rather than political, not an orchestra "for peace" but "against ignorance".

5,000 days in captivity: The world's most famous political prisoner and a dismal landmark

Burma's leaders hoped the world would forget about the detained opposition leader. But her influence and support are a potent threat to the military regime – and it refused the UN Secretary General permission to meet her last week

Biggs' health deteriorating says son

Great train robber Ronnie Biggs could die if he does not respond to current treatment, his son said today.

Phedre, National Theatre, London

Since she last appeared at the National six years ago, Helen Mirren has become a dame and played the Queen. So she's no stranger to the purple in Jean Racine's great classical 17th-century tragedy about a dysfunctional royal expiring with incestuous love for her stepson.

First Night: Phedre, National Theatre, London

Mirren's purple patch comes to an end

China blocks internet in Tiananmen alert

Chinese authorities blocked popular websites like Twitter and Flickr yesterday after expelling dissidents from Beijing in a clampdown before the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests.

Close-up: Clarke Peters

Where does the actor go after Lester in 'The Wire'? Nelson Mandela, of course

Cuba ready to put 'everything' on table in US talks

Castro's offer high on agenda at Summit of the Americas in Trinidad

Mugabe: Last white farmer should leave

Speaking at a rally to celebrate his 85th birthday, Zimbabwe's President says that the farm seizures will go on. Raymond Whitaker reports

Britain lays out conditions for increasing Zimbabwe aid

Morgan Tsvangirai told to shore up country’s ravaged economy and expedite the release of political prisoners
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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
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Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
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Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
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Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
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Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
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Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
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X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
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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
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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
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'