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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

US seeking sole command of Nato's war against the Taliban

Western allies risk public backlash if Washington commands troops

Leading article: Can the surge in Iraq work for Afghanistan?

General Petraeus seeks to repeat success in his new command

James K Glassman: America knows that bullets alone will not win this war

Public diplomacy is, very simply, diplomacy aimed at publics, as opposed to officials. While some people associate it with marketing – with building a national brand – the truth is that public diplomacy, like official diplomacy and like military action, has as its mission the achievement of the national interest. Public diplomacy performs this mission by understanding, informing, engaging, and persuading foreign publics.

Rupert Cornwell: Little to do, lots to learn for impotent US

Russia's military crushing of Georgia confronts the US with a stark choice – whether to challenge Moscow in its own backyard, ortacitly concede its sphere of influence there. Already, however, it has taught Washington a harsh lesson: either way, nothing the US does can make much difference.

World Focus: Diplomatic gesture on Iran shows US is joining the soft cops

As a diplomatic about-turn, Washington's decision to send a US official to the talks in Geneva on Iran's nuclear programme could hardly be called earth shattering. The American representative, William Burns, is a career diplomat. He will neither participate actively in the talks (he will listen only) nor change policy (his brief is specifically to support the UN demands that Iran cease uranium enrichment as a precondition for any settlement).

Mark Steel: Barack Obama has nothing to fear but himself

There's no way of saying this without sounding a bit pretentious, but I was in Chicago a couple of weeks ago. And the most instructive person I met may have been a frail old black woman in a newsagents, who picked up a newspaper with a photo of Barack Obama on it, and thrust it under my nose.

Bush to hasten Iraq troop withdrawal in bid to help McCain win White House

President George Bush wants to speed up the withdrawal of American combat troops from Iraq, a move that could help to quell the anti-war anxieties of voters before November's presidential election.

Jobs under threat as US cancels $18bn defence deal

Thousands of British jobs were under threat following the Pentagon's decision to cancel the world's biggest defence contract and allow an American company to bid.

Robert Fisk: So al-Qa'ida's defeated, eh? Go tell it to the marines

Last week the head of the CIA claimed it was winning the battle. Nonsense, argues Robert Fisk. The extremists in the Middle East are growing stronger

UN in stand-off over access to victims

The United Nations was in a tense stand-off with the Burmese junta last night over access to the victims of Cyclone Nargis.

Leading article: An admiral and a self-serving administration

Esquire magazine's recent description of Admiral William Fallon as "the man between peace and war" seems a little unfortunate in the light of his resignation this week as head of US Central Command. It is especially so, considering that the article to which this description was attached is being cited as the reason Admiral Fallon had to step down.

Iraq is a happier place, says visiting Iranian president

The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made an unprecedented visit to Baghdad yesterday, demonstrating Iran's powerful influence in Iraq since the US overthrew Saddam Hussein five years ago.

Turkey resists pressure to end northern Iraq offensive

Turkey has said it had "no timetable" to withdraw troops fighting Kurdish guerrillas in northern Iraq, resisting pressure from the US and other allies to end the offensive quickly.

China sees US move as step in space arms race

The decision by America to fire a missile and destroy one of its satellites has been greeted with consternation in China, where memories are fresh of the international anger at Beijing's similar action last January.

UK opposes US plan for longer tours of duty

Britain and the US are at loggerheads over key aspects of their strategy against the Taliban, in fresh evidence of discord over the future of Nato's troubled mission in Afghanistan.

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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 15 May 2015
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

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Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

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Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

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BBC heads to the Californian coast

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Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

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Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
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Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

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The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future