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 is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style