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

Putin wants to set up a Russian space ministry

Putin aims for the stars with £33bn space programme

Russian President unveils ambitious plans at new launchpad site, including manned flight to Mars

Russian Prime Minister Vladmir Putin is accosted by a topless protester

Putin laughs off topless protest by women's rights group Femen

Russian President Vladimir Putin laughed off a protest against him by topless women in Germany on Monday, joking that he liked what he had seen while sharply rebuffing German criticism of his human rights record.

Alexei Navalny has won support among Russians tired of official corruption

Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny to stand trial for fraud in 'fabricated' case

Accused is known for his investigations into corrupt dealings by officials and his campaigning against Putin

Paperback review: Sila's Fortune, By Fabrice Humbert

Humbert's novel has won several awards in his native France, but in this cool assessment of the impact of corruption and finance on a group of disparate individuals he has set himself a huge challenge that doesn't quite come off.

Putin in surprise support for Cyprus bailout as Russians shop around for other options

Russia has put aside its anger over what it sees as an unfair levy on major deposits held in Cypriot banks, and agreed to support Europe’s bailout of the island by refinancing a major loan to the country. The usually hawkish President Vladimir Putin had no sharp rhetoric for the EU or Cyprus today, but instead confirmed that Russia would backstop the EU bailout by restructuring a €2.5bn loan first extended two years ago.

Cyprus deal is model for future bailouts says top European official as banks are told to open

The deal will see investors with more than €100,000 in the nation’s largest banks forfeit a large chunk of their deposits

An aerial shot of Boris Berezovsky's house

Boris Berezovsky died in a bathroom locked from the inside: the final hours of a Russian oligarch

Police refuse to rule out foul play as Russian journalist reveals details of 'confused' and 'anxious' interview hours before his death

Boris Berezovsky rose to prominence as a key ally of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, pictured together here in 1998

Boris Berezovsky: Businessman who profited from communism's fall but made an enemy of Putin

Boris Berezovsky was one of the original group of seven oligarchs, the powerful Russian businessmen who had built up considerable financial and political power in the period following the collapse of communism. But Berezovsky had gone from being a friend of President Vladimir Putin to his avowed foe within a few years. Fearing arrest, or worse, in his native country, he had spent the last decade in exile in the UK, from where he continued to criticise the regime.

Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky pictured in 2011

Exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky found dead in his Berkshire home at 67

Police investigate death in Britain of exiled Russian tycoon who had made a powerful enemy in Vladimir Putin

Cyprus bailout - the Russian angle: Vladimir Putin hits out at 'unjust and dangerous' bank levy

Easy visa access and lax banking regulations have made Cyprus a favoured tax haven for Russian businessmen

Moscow anger at UK decision to give controversial banker Andrei Borodin asylum

A controversial Russian banker has been granted political asylum in Britain in a move which is likely to increase tension between London and Moscow.

President Vladimir Putin signed an anti-smoking bill into law yesterday

Putin signs law banning smoking in public places

President Vladimir Putin signed an anti-smoking bill into law today that looks set to transform Russian public life. The legislation will see smoking outlawed in government buildings and other public institutions from this summer, and in all restaurants, bars and cafes from next year.

Litvinenko died in November 2006 after he was poisoned with polonium-210 while drinking tea at a meeting

Independent challenges secrecy at inquest into death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko

A state order to withhold sensitive evidence from the inquest into Alexander Litvinenko’s death on national security grounds will be challenged by media organisations including The Independent tomorrow.

Editorial: Only $7bn to keep the wolf from the door

Even the most cynical will surely struggle to criticise the latest clutch of the super-rich who have committed to give away at least half of their fortunes. The Giving Pledge – which was set up by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett three years ago – already has 93 members from the US. Now 12 multi-billionaires from elsewhere in the world have joined the ranks of the über-philanthropists. Well done to them.

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Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker