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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Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent