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Khodorkovsky’s release may well have been intended to further those goals by sending a positive signal about Russia's future business climate

George Osborne leaves 11 Downing Street in London

New Tory right in call for deeper cuts to public spending

Measure would allow greater flexibility over tax thresholds and steal Lib Dems' thunder

Leading article: Fewer drinks on the House, please

It's reassuring to learn from Chris Bryant's description in today's Independent that MPs have generally moderated their on-site drinking, thanks in part to the televising of Parliament and the expenses scandal.

Nick Clegg made a party political broadcast about the Budget a month before George Osborne (pictured) will actually deliver it

Luther star Idris Elba to play Nelson Mandela

British actor Idris Elba is set to portray Nelson Mandela on the big screen.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her foreign minister, Kevin Rudd, were once a 'dream team'

Julia Gillard challenges Kevin Rudd to fight Labor Party leadership contest

The Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has thrown down the gauntlet to Kevin Rudd, challenging him to fight her for the Labor Party leadership and top political office in a ballot next Monday.

New Maldivian leader expands his cabinet

The Maldives' new President expanded his cabinet yesterday, to strengthen the coalition government that has ruled the Indian Ocean nation since former leader Mohamed Nasheed's resignation last week sparked a political crisis.

A 'ghost bike' memorial to a killed cyclist in Woolwich, south-east London

Roads still no safer for Britain's cyclists

The number of bike accidents has risen, angering the victims' families. By Kevin Rawlinson

Gingrich reaches for the stars (well, the Moon at least)

If Newt Gingrich makes it to the White House, America will launch an ambitious programme to colonise the Moon, according to the latest exotic pledge to emerge on the Republican campaign trail.

Ed Balls (pictured) may have won the economic battle, but George Osborne is winning the war
Nick Clegg, David Cameron and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley at Guy's Hospital before the proposed reforms

Drop perilous NHS reforms, say leading health professionals

Letter to Prime Minister warns that changes will create inequality and 'a deplorable state of affairs'

MPs retreat on payments shake-up

The House of Commons yesterday backed down from calling for Parliament's independent expenses watchdog to be broken up despite continuing anger over the administration of the system.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy says Europe needs Britain

Sarkozy rages at Cameron as euro treaty doubts grow

Nicolas Sarkozy launched a personal attack on David Cameron yesterday amid growing signs that last week's agreement struck by the other 26 European Union countries without Britain is already fraying at the edges.

Leading article: A pass is for elected MPs, not for life

In some respects, the rules are clear. An MP who earns money outside Parliament which relates in any way to his status as an elected member of the legislature has to make a declaration. In writing. In a register that is regularly updated. There are penalties for those who do not comply. The boastful comments of Tim Collins, managing director of Bell Pottinger, as recently revealed in The Independent, might suggest that professional lobbyists, in contrast, live in a world where no rules apply. But that is not so.

EU 26 fight to stop pact unravelling

Several non-eurozone nations having doubts about 'fiscal compact', while Sarkozy inflames divisions with attack on 'kid' Cameron

News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleThe idea has been greeted enthusiastically by the party's MPs
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Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
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Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
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Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
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Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
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Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
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Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
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Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game