Arts and Entertainment Ellie Goulding has refused to sing at the Sochi Winter Olympics due to Russia's anti-gay laws

The singer turned down a request to sing at the Sochi opening ceremony

Red Fortress, By Catherine Merridale: Book review

The corridors of Russian power are studied through the history of the Kremlin

Keeping the Litvinenko papers secret will smooth the path of one possible Putin successor

Putin's chief of staff Sergei Ivanov was well known to the murdered double-agent

Vladimir Putin is awarded grandmaster rank in taekwondo and given black belt - despite not practising the sport

Russian president now ranks higher than Chuck Norris in South Korean martial art

Putin is a 'proud buff dude' and Russia should not be vilified for anti-gay laws ahead of Sochi Olympic Games, says US swimmer

Richard Alther appeals to Russia President to treat gay athletes with compassion and respect

Greenpeace activists hold a demonstration during the Champions League match between Basel and Schalke

Arctic protest banner by Greenpeace receives frosty reception from authorities during Champions League match

Uefa opens disciplinary proceedings against FC Basel after four abseiling environmentalists stopped play during fixture against Schalke

Syria crisis: John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov announce 'constructive' Geneva meeting to continue in New York as US and Russia push for 'Geneva 2' peace talks

The international envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, today held a three way meeting with John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov as key talks in Geneva enter the second day.

Alexei Navalny speaks to the press outside his headquarters in Moscow, Russia

Moscow mayor election: Defeat for Vladimir Putin’s biggest rival Alexei Navalny may yet be a pivotal moment

Anti-corruption candidate sought votes by attacking Russia’s president

Boris Berezovsky was found dead at home last year

Moscow demands seizure of Boris Berezovsky’s Serbian assets

Moscow is trying to seize assets in Serbia allegedly belonging to the late Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky, in an apparent attempt to claim some of what may be left of the fortune of Vladimir Putin’s once bitter foe.

On my own: Vladimir Putin walks alone through the streets of St Petersburg

Russian President Vladimir Putin cut a lonely figure today after he was spotted wandering by himself through the streets of St Petersburg.

Alexander Lebedev urges US taxman to look at GE

A striking theme of the court case was the length to which GE goes to avoid paying US taxes. Although based firmly in the US, Gecas and PK were were technically established in low-tax Shannon in Ireland and Luxembourg.

Russian President Vladimir Putin holding a huge pike fish, after he caught it in the Tyva during his holiday

'It was this big' Really? Russia thinks there's something fishy about Putin's 26 pound pike

'This pike weighs no more than 26.5 pounds' one commentator noted. 'Unless it swallowed a bar of gold'

UK bars are increasingly joining the Russian vodka boycott

No equal rights, no vodka nights: gay clubs boycott Russian imports

Popular British gay bars and nightclubs have joined a global boycott of Russian vodka brands following allegations of human rights abuses by Vladimir Putin’s government.

Vladamir Putin in his aquatic vehicle

Mission implausible: Vladimir Putin dives to bottom of Gulf of Finland in search of another photo op

Last time Vladimir Putin went into the sea for a photo opportunity, he brought back from the depths a collection of shards of ancient pottery (which later turned out to have been planted for him to find).

Chechen militant leader Doku Umarov

Chechen militant, Doku Umarov, targets Winter Olympics in Sochi

Russia’s most wanted terrorist has vowed to cause havoc at next year’s Winter Olympics in a chilling video message posted online.

A TV screen shows a news report about Edward Snowden in Hong Kong

Vladimir Putin confirms Edward Snowden is still in Moscow airport and blocks US extradition demands, as Venezuela says it would consider asylum request

Russian President says former CIA employee remains a free man, and the sooner he chooses destination the better

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
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Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
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Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
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Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
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Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
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Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
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Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
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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
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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

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
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
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

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

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

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

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

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

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
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