14 killed as police raid Rio ganglands

Police raided shanty towns in Rio de Janeiro yesterday, setting off clashes that killed 14 people as authorities try to halt a wave of violent crime that has rattled rich and poor alike in a city that Brazil hopes to make a showpiece for the 2016 Olympics.

Drug gang members battle police in Rio

Suspected gang members burned cars and buses in Rio de Janeiro yesterday in a fourth day of violence, defying a heavy police presence and raids on slums which left seven dead.

Post-2012 funding to rely on Lottery

The Olympics minister, Hugh Robertson, has promised there will be no drop in funding for elite athletes after the London 2012 Games.

24-hour Room Service: Hotel Fasano, Rio de Janeiro

Lap up the cool vibe and ocean views

Brazilians vote in presidential election

Brazilians are going to the polls today in national elections that could see front-running candidate Dilma Rousseff become the country's first female president, succeeding her popular ally and mentor.

Front-runner in Brazilian election denies corruption

With just three weeks before Brazilians go to the polls to decide who should fill the shoes of President Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva, the campaign has abruptly been muddied by allegations of dirty-tricks campaigning and corruption on the part of the ruling party's candidate, Dilma Rousseff.

Leading article: A policy for the planet

The pace of global warming is so slow that it is hard for most mere mortals to grasp its implications. That may explain why so many people refuse to accept the science of climate change. It often requires creative artists to convey the scale of its challenge to humanity. In Earthquakes in London, the highly acclaimed play by Mike Bartlett at the National Theatre, an expectant mother is driven half-mad by her fears for the planet on which her baby will be born.

48 Hours In: Rio de Janeiro

Brazil's 'marvellous city' is as flamboyant, dramatic and seductive as ever – even in the South American winter.

Cech a doubt for Chelsea opener after injuring calf in training

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech suffered a calf injury in training yesterday and could be ruled out for the champions' first Premier League game of the season against West Bromwich Albion.

Plane diverted after bomb threat

An Air France passenger jet from Rio de Janeiro to Paris was forced to make an emergency landing in north-eastern Brazil because of a bomb threat, a company spokesman said.

On top of the world: Why Brazil is booming

It is a 100th birthday party in a well-to-do postcode of Sao Paulo, where the house of our journalist host – he and another writer pal are actually each turning 50 – slips graciously down a slope to a terrace and the chatter is nearly all politics. Then the DJ cuts the music in the middle of a samba everyone knows. They reflexively fill in: "Ò coisinha tão bonitinha do papai" – "Oh daddy's beautiful little thing".

Travel Agenda: Okinawa Day; Hotel Le Seven; Britain to Rio de Janeiro

Today: Find out about Japan's southern islands at Okinawa Day in London's Spitalfields, which celebrates art, music and food from this sub-tropical archipelago (okinawaday.org.uk). From Asia to Iberia ... the capital is also celebrating Spanish food in Potters Fields Park next to City Hall with Tapas Fantasticas. The event, which runs over the weekend, celebrates wines from Rioja and the country's venerated food ( winesfromrioja.co.uk/tapasfantasticas ).

Referee Simon happy to chat despite swearing ban

The England players are on notice that swearing will be to their detriment this evening after Brazilian referee Carlos Simon's crash course in abusive English language – but verbal communication is possible as Simon is a referee who is known to like talking to players during the game.

Brazilian referee for US opener labelled 'risky'

The Brazilian referee Carlos Simon, who has been selected to take charge of England's first World Cup finals group match against the United States on Saturday, has made so many controversial decisions that one of his nation's biggest clubs petitioned Fifa to get him thrown out the tournament.

Report on failure to halt wildlife decline is buried

A report showing that Britain is failing to halt the declines of many of its highest-priority wildlife species and habitats, from the red squirrel, the juniper and the common skate to chalk rivers and coastal salt marshes, was "sneaked out" this week by the Government with no publicity, environmental campaign groups said yesterday.

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Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
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The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

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

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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?
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Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

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The man who hunts giants

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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
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The male exhibits strange behaviour

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A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

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Marian Keyes

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Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

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Michael Calvin's Last Word

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