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There are now fears the country is on the brink of civil war ‘along ethnic lines’

Protesters gather round UN observers during a visit to Douma, a suburb of Damascus, on Monday

Assad tanks punish protesters after UN team drives out

As the UN team drove out of the Damascus suburb of Douma yesterday, regime tanks were said to have rolled in – offering another indication that President Bashar al-Assad is adopting a strategy of brutal mass punishment for those who turn out to show observers their discontent with the regime.

North Korea threatens to reduce South's government 'to ashes'

North Korea's military warned yesterday of imminent "special actions" that would reduce South Korea's government to ashes within minutes, sharply escalating the rhetoric against its southern rival.

African Union mediator, Thabo Mbeki

Mbeki urges UN to step in as Sudan conflict grows

The African Union mediator, Thabo Mbeki, has urged the UN Security Council to act to stop the fighting between Sudan and South Sudan, warning that the sides are locked in a "logic of war" with hardliners increasingly in control.

North Korean students wave their national flags at Kim Il Sung Square to commemorate the late President Kim Il Sung's 100th birthday in Pyongyang

Rockets? Sanctions? Nothing can stop Pyongyang's party

As the orchestrated mass celebrations commemorating the centenary of the birth of its "Eternal Supreme Leader" Kim Il-Sung drew to a close, North Korea's latest abortive rocket launch was met with opprobrium from the UN Security Council and the threat of a new wave of sanctions.

Leading article: Progress in Syria – but not enough

The ceasefire in Syria so far has been patchy, inadequate, and violated by both sides, most egregiously by the forces of President Bashar al-Assad, who have broken a pledge to withdraw from all towns and cities and bombarded districts of Homs again yesterday. But the – distinctly relative – calm has shown that a ceasefire, however imperfect, is an improvement on the free-for-all that proceeded it, with the glaring imbalance of power between the regime and the opposition exacting a murderous toll.

Syrian troops resume shelling of residential areas

Syrian troops have resumed their shelling of residential neighbourhoods dominated by rebels in the central city of Homs, activists say.

William Hague welcomes UN resolution over Syria

Foreign Secretary William Hague has welcomed unanimous United Nations Security Council backing for deployment of military observers to monitor the ceasefire in Syria as a "vital step".

In the Damascus suburb of Kafr Batna, videos showed soldiers patrolling the streets after Friday prayers

Syrians take to the streets as UN-brokered ceasefire frays

Activists claim at least five people killed as soldiers use live rounds across the country

North Korean technicians at a control room in Pyongyang watch live images of the rocket Unha-3 as it is fuelled for take-off

North Korea fuels rocket for centenary launch in defiance of US threats

North Korea fuelled up its latest long-range rocket yesterday, in defiance of vague threats from the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of "appropriate action" if it is launched.

North Korea ready for controversial rocket launch

North Korean space officials said today that all assembly and preparations for a planned satellite launch have been completed, while denying it is a cover for a missile test.

Troops shell rebels in defiance of UN statement

Syrian troops shelled and raided opposition areas and clashed with rebel fighters around the country yesterday despite UN efforts to stop the bloodshed so aid could reach suffering civilians.

US and Russia clash over Syria at UN

The United States and Russia clashed over Syria at the U.N. today after Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the divided Security Council to speak with one voice and help the Middle Eastern nation "pull back from the brink of a deeper catastrophe."

UK 'must stick to Afghanistan plan'

The killing of 16 Afghan civilians by a US soldier was "an absolutely dreadful event", but Britain and its Nato allies must "stick to the plan" they have set out for Afghanistan, Prime Minister David Cameron said today.

Syrian troops kill 80 in village raids

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces rained rockets and bombs down on opposition-held neighbourhoods of the city of Homs, reducing buildings to rubble and killing more than 80 people.

China urges end to Syrian violence

A Chinese envoy visiting Damascus has called on all sides in Syria to stop the violence.

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Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
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New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

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Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

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New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

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Charlie Sheen could be set to revive his role as a hedonistic womaniser

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The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes