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

An airing for Russia's dirty laundry

British court case will give an insight into the post-Soviet carve-up, predicts Shaun Walker
President Vladimir Putin who was re-elected in May

Kremlin set to target NGOs by branding them 'foreign agents'

Russia is expected to pass laws next week which will impose harsh regulations on all foreign-funded non- governmental organisations involved in political activity.

Sergey Lavrov accused the United States of adding to the bloodshed by supplying weapons to rebels

Moscow returns fire by accusing US of arming Syria's rebel forces

There are fears for the plight of the people of al-Haffa which has been under siege for eight days

Vladimir Putin's Olympics snub welcomed by British MPs

Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be coming to the London Olympics.

Both Syrian sides to blame for deaths, says Russian Foreign Minister

Russia further backed away from its support of Syrian President Bashar Assad, saying his government bears the main responsibility for the violence in the country and calling for a full investigation into its role in the deaths of more than 100 civilians in Houla.

Vladimir Putin names new Russian cabinet

Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a new Cabinet, warning that it will have to fulfil its duties in a difficult global economic climate.

Vladimir Putin pulls out of planned visit to the United States

Russia's President Vladimir Putin will skip a planned visit to the United States this month for a key global summit and a much-anticipated meeting with President Barack Obama, the Kremlin confirmed today, as he faced pressure from protests and opposition criticism at home.

Leading article: Vladimir Putin must avoid going back to the future

A close election in France and a fractious one in Greece combined to keep Vladimir Putin's return to the Russian presidency out of the headlines. And his inauguration yesterday, while long on pomp, was conspicuously short on content. Yet his job swap with Dmitry Medvedev, who is expected to become Prime Minister in days, can take Russia in one of several directions.

Vladimir Putin sworn in as Russia's president amid protests

Vladimir Putin took the oath as Russia's president today with a ringing appeal for unity at the start of a six-year term in which he faces growing dissent, economic problems and bitter political rivalries.

Kofi Annan demands end to Syrian violence

Syrian troops have shelled and raided opposition strongholds nationwide, activists said, prompting an urgent appeal by international envoy Kofi Annan to the Syrian regime to halt violence "without conditions" and give his truce plan a chance.

Onegin, London Coliseum

Rejected Onegin, by the man she loves, Tatiana has a nightmare. In the Eifman Ballet’s version of the Pushkin story, the poor girl goes to Vegas in her dreams, tormented by red-clad rock musicians with terrible hair. This updated ballet plunges into cheesy extremes whenever it gets the chance.

Obama caught on open mic making promises to Russia

President Barack Obama had to engage in some damage limitation yesterday after comments he made to Russia's leader were picked up by an open microphone.

A boy looks at cars hit by Syrian army artillery in the town of Sarmeen

Annan heads to China with plans to end Syrian conflict

Former UN leader visits Beijing after winning Russian backing for negotiated peace deal

Russia softens and offers to back Annan's Syria plan at UN

Russia offered heavily-qualified support yesterday for a United Nations initiative to end the bloodshed in Syria, as opponents of President Bashar al-Assad's regime faced an intensifying struggle to oust him.

August 8th, the rival Russian film of Hollywood's Five Days of War

Georgia and Russia resume hostilities – on the big screen

Rival productions offer very different accounts of 2008 military conflict

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Food blogger and Guardian writer Jack Monroe with her young son
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peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
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booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
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Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
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Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
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Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

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Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital