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Carry on in Colombo: Tamils have high expectations from the Prime Minister

Deborah Orr: Prison is not the place for people who are a danger to themselves

Prisons are a thoroughly necessary evil. Everybody understands that. Above all, they are the places where we put people who are a danger to the rest of us. And though there remains a public perception that prisons are "soft", institutions where incarceration even for a number of years is some kind of picnic, nothing could be further from the truth.

Jerome Taylor: Mystery of Prabhakaran pic solved... or is it?

Yesterday I blogged about how Tamils have been emailing pictures to each other which purportedly show Vellupillai Prabhakaran, the leader of the Tamil Tigers, alive and safe.

Tamil leaders 'killed as they tried to surrender'

Text messages sent by Sri Lankan officials told the rebels how to give themselves up. They obeyed the instructions – but were shot dead. Andrew Buncombe reports from Colombo

Peter Popham: Prabhakaran talked of peace. But the man I met was doomed to die in action

He was the most reclusive guerrilla leader of modern times, cocooning himself in the dense jungle of the Vanni in northern Sri Lanka surrounded by bodyguards and his closest comrades, never photographed, never betrayed, never spotted. It was ten years since he had given his last interview, and the only western journalist to try to reach him since then, Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times, failed in the attempt and lost an eye in the process.

Velupillai Prabhakaran: Leader of the Tamil Tigers

If there was ever a competition to find the person who summed up the adage which says that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter", then Velupillai Prabhakaran, the rotund but fearsome leader of the Tamil Tigers, would have been a strong candidate. For nearly 30 years, the moustachioed commander's brutal war to create an independent "Eelam" (homeland) for Sri Lanka's minority Tamils teetered on the often thin line between a struggle for liberation and outright terrorism.

Tears spill in London for Tamil leader

Nimalan Seevaratnam’s eyes were swollen with tears as he stood outside the Houses of Parliament earlier today.

Pro-Tamil protest halts central London

Pro-Tamil demonstrators today caused traffic chaos as they mounted a sit-down protest on a busy road opposite the Houses of Parliament.

Tamil Tigers Timeline: 26 years of terror

*1983: An ambush by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the north kills 13 soldiers, triggering anti-Tamil riots in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo. Hundreds are killed and thousands flee.

Nirmala Rajasingam: Sri Lanka's silenced dissenters still speak volumes

"What has happened to this country? Will the rivers of blood stop? Will not the long shadow of the guns leave us? Life is much more worth than to be snuffed out like a candle."

The bitter end: Tamils lay down arms

After 26 years, Sri Lanka claims it has defeated the feared Tamil Tigers, but the tide of refugees driven into internment leaves legacy of hate

Sri Lanka rebels offer to lay down arms

The Tamil Tiger rebels admitted defeat in their 25-year-old war with the Sri Lankan government today, offering to lay down their guns as government forces swept across their last strongholds in the northeast.

Family album of the Tamil who invented suicide bombings

Sri Lankan military releases photos of ruthless rebel leader

Red Cross worker killed in Sri Lanka shelling

Shelling killed a Red Cross worker inside Sri Lanka's war zone today, the aid agency said, while troops and the Tamil Tigers battled in an intensifying fight to the finish of Asia's longest modern war.

Mary Dejevsky: Foreign policy should not be dictated by exiles living here

Efforts to influence policy are not unique to Tamil exiles

UN calls Sri Lanka attack a 'bloodbath'

The United Nations said a weekend attack in Sri Lanka that killed hundreds was the bloodbath it had feared, while the Tamil Tigers and government traded blame ahead of UN Security Council talks over the war.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there