News

PM will be questioned by MPs and peers over UK relationship with US following the intelligence revelations from whistleblower Edward Snowden

European governments urge US not to exclude expensive air force bids

German and French officials have written to the White House over the terms of its air force refuelling contract.

Panic over false bomb alert before Obama sworn in

As the United States prepared 12 months ago for the historic inauguration of Barack Obama as the nation's new president, top-level officials of the incoming team and of the departing administration of George Bush were jointly trying to deal with a potentially devastating terror threat, which, in the end, proved not to be real.

Robert Gates: Our founding fathers' belief in public service is due a revival

I worry about how difficult it has become to persuade talented and capable young people to enter the public arena. Much of the resistance no doubt stems from the perceived hassles, frustrations and sacrifices of public life. The scepticism is somewhat understandable. Government is, partially by design of the founding fathers, slow, unwieldy, and almost comically inefficient. I have just about seen it all, since first entering government 43 years ago and now having worked for eight presidents.

Karzai unveils new cabinet though little changes

Afghan President Hamid Harzai plans to keep most of his top ministers, mainly technocrats favoured by the West, in a new cabinet presented to parliament today, one of his ministers said.

Iraqi insurgents hack US drones

Insurgents in Iraq have hacked into live video feeds from Predator drones, a major weapon in a Pentagon spy system that serves as the military's eyes in the sky for surveillance and intelligence collection.

Iran needs up to 15 nuclear plants, says foreign minister

Iran needs up to 15 nuclear plants to generate electricity, its foreign minister said today, underlining Tehran's determination to press ahead with a programme the West suspects is aimed at making bombs.

Government 'making progress' on Afghanistan troops

Prime Minister Gordon Brown did not understand the significance of Britain's military campaign in Afghanistan until a few months ago, a former Army chief-turned-Tory adviser said today.

US admits it has no idea of Bin Laden's whereabouts

The United States has no real idea where Osama bin Laden, the al-Qa'ida leader, may be hiding, and has not had the benefit of any substantial intelligence on his possible whereabouts "for years", the US Secretary of Defence, Robert Gates, conceded yesterday.

Rupert Cornwell: Obama must explain how he'll get them out

Sympathetic commentators are turning against the President, accusing him of being too ruthless – or not tough enough

Afghanistan: The hokey-cokey strategy

On eve of Obama's surge, Brown aims to convince voters he has a plan for withdrawal. Handover 'could begin by end of 2010' – but PM is set to commit 500 more troops

Obama promises Afghan decision soon

President Barack Obama, facing withering criticism for a prolonged decision-making process on Afghanistan, asserted today he doesn't want the next move to be seen as an "open-ended commitment."

Military rivals fight for the ear of Obama

A long-standing feud between two of America's most senior soldiers lies at the heart of the President's inability to decide his Afghan strategy, says Kim Sengupta

Ex-ministers call for vote on war in Afghanistan

Pressure grows on Brown after claim that US was close to troop decision is rejected

Beyond the little black dress

The party season isn't only about dresses. In fact, the new evening wear is more exciting than that, says Carola Long

Thousands protest at Japanese US air base

Thousands of Japanese gathered in sweltering heat on the southern island of Okinawa yesterday to demand that a US Marine base be moved out of the region, days ahead of a visit by US President Barack Obama.

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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
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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

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Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

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Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

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The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

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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

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Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

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Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

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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

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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

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Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

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Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

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Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

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Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick