Thomas Hitzlsperger with the Germany team

Thomas Hitzlsperger gay: The reaction in Germany after former Aston Villa player comes out

The former midfielder, who was capped 52 times by Germany, has received widespread support

Northern Ireland peace process talks end in stalemate after last-ditch overnight negotiations fail to meet end-of-year deadline

No consensus reached on final set of proposals to deal with flags, disputed parades and the legacy of the Troubles

Charlotte Britz, mayor of Saarbrucken

Europe’s biggest brothel: it will cost €4.5m and will boast 90 prostitutes

Tony Paterson finds out if it really is easier to open a brothel than a chip shop in Saarbrücken

German 'grand coalition': Angela Merkel reaches deal with SPD to form new government

Tricky hurdle remains for Merkel as Social Democrats must get approval of 470,000 members before she can be sworn in

The Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, denies that he is trying to gag the press

Japan cracks down on leaks after scandal of Fukushima nuclear power plant

State secrecy law carrying threat of 10-year jail term criticised as attack on democracy but PM denies trying to gag press

Father Alec Reid;

Fr Alec Reid, priest who brokered peace in Northern Ireland, dies

Tributes paid to Father Alec Reid, trusted go-between of both the IRA  and British Government

Sir Bernard Ingham accused campaigners of hypocrisy

Bernard Ingham says Northerners who loathe the Tories are ‘demented’. Perhaps I can put him straight...

Slashing the welfare state and cutting taxes on the wealthy was never going to play well

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness is reduced to tears at the club's annual general meeting

Amid the Bayern Munich celebrations after a remarkable year, Uli Hoeness is reduced to tears over his ongoing tax scandal

The president of the treble winners has been overwhelmed with the solidarity the club has displayed

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Ed Balls steamed up after presenting David Cameron with a perfect birthday gift

It all started so amiably. Not only did Ed Miliband wish David Cameron a happy birthday, but both men fell over themselves to congratulate Professor Peter Higgs of boson fame for winning a Nobel Prize. And then, to borrow a term from Prof Higgs’ branch of physics, it all reverted to the Standard Model of PM’s Questions: half-truths, dodgy statistics and old quotes to show your adversary once thought the opposite of what he says now.

Rooney Mara in 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo'

Unpublished Stieg Larsson story to be included in new anthology of Scandinavian noir fiction

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo author, who died in 2004, penned A Darker Shade when he was just 17 years old

Ireland reunified – in its passports at least, which include a map of whole island

The new Irish passport includes verses in Ulster Scots as well as a map of the entire island for the first time.

Sigmar Gabriel has anoounced

Germany Elections: Social Democratic Party to open coalition talks with Angela Merkel

Merkel's Christan Democratic Union needs a new junior partner after its last partner dropped out of parliament entirely

Angela Merkel’s in-tray: Greece, austerity and banking union

German voters have spoken and put the veteran Chancellor in pole position to form the next coalition government of the eurozone’s dominant economy. Ben Chu examines the  decisions and dilemmas facing Angela Merkel in the wake of her party’s Bundestag victory

Angela Merkel in fight to win new term as Germany goes to the polls

Angela Merkel is in a fight to clinch a new term for her ruling coalition despite enjoying overwhelming popularity and leading an economy that is the envy of Europe.

Tough talking as new Norwegian PM tries to form government

Erna Solberg, who is poised to become Prime Minister after the Labour premier conceded defeat in an election, faces tough negotiations with three other right-wing parties to form a government. 

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Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England