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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
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

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300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk