Tony Blair planting a tree in 2002 in Alexandra township, one of the poorest in Johannesburg

Exclusive: Ministers rebuff Tony Blair over Africa charity funding

The International Development Secretary Justine Greening rejects ex-PM’s request for money to support work of foundation

David Cameron is increasingly making use of brief, filmed statements that avoid questions, which are masterminded by Craig Oliver, pictured

Downing Street hogs the remote control: The PM's use of tame media is annoying the big guns at Sky, ITN and the BBC

Britain's senior political television journalists are at war with Downing Street over what they see as attempts by David Cameron to bypass them and use less critical media outlets to broadcast policies to the public.

Dressed to thrill: Meera Syal and Nina Wadia in the BBC sketch show 'Goodness Gracious Me'

The week in radio: Culture-clash comedy can still raise a smile

Regular Radio 4 listeners will already know The Reunion, the programme that has been picking at old scabs and offering moist-eyed snapshots of times gone by since 2006. It's about revisiting crowning glories and ghastly calamities of old, with the wonderful, and sometimes awful, benefit of hindsight. Like Desert Island Discs, it has a distinct format: a group of people are brought together to recall a shared moment in their lifetimes. Unlike DID, however, there is more scope for sadness, for joy, or for sheer, red-faced fury.

Sir Bob Kerslake will be replaced as Head of the Civil Service – but not yet

Death rattle of the mandarins?

Reform is coming to the Civil Service, but some worry it will harm more than help

Tony Blair slaps down David Cameron over lobbying claims

Tony Blair has slapped down David Cameron for suggesting that the former prime minister used his position to lobby him – possibly for private clients.

Union leader Bob Crow seeks to form new 'working class party' to replace Labour

Bob Crow, the RMT general secretary, will seek to exploit Labour’s wranglings with trade unions by urging the movement to break ties with Ed Miliband and create a party that “speaks for working people”.

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of moors murderer Ian Brady appearing via video link at Manchester Civil Justice Centre

Moors murderer Ian Brady breaks his silence after 47 years: 'I killed for the existential experience'

75-year-old breaks 47-year silence as he tells mental health tribunal of mixing with criminals from Krays to Great Train Robbers and IRA terrorists

Richard Scudamore

So, Mr Scudamore, how do you feel about Premier League fans being priced out of the market?

A march on Premier League headquarters over ticket prices took place yesterday

Top sports agent with links to Premier League star Ashley Cole and rapper Jay Z was cleared of murder

A top sports agent with links to Premier League star Ashley Cole and rapper Jay Z was cleared at the Old Bailey today of murdering an 18-year-old man in a “revenge” attack over a stolen BlackBerry phone.

Mauroy in 1989; after being ousted as PM, he continued his career as mayor of Lille

Pierre Mauroy: Socialist leader of France in the '80s

When Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were establishing the global mood music of the monetarist, greed-is-good 1980s, Pierre Mauroy sought to make France dance to a different tune. As the first Socialist Prime Minister of the Fifth Republic (1981-84) and first prime minister of the François Mitterrand era, Mauroy pursued a policy of nationalisation, taxation of the rich, increased minimum wages, retirement at 60 and a 39-hour working week.

The EDL and Islamic extremists are two different problems - but the solution is the same

The root cause that separates people in any society is ignorance leading to fear of unknown. We must use the knowledge of local communities at a national level

Prime Minister David Cameron looks over the River Thames estuary from the top of a 138m high quay crane at the new London Gateway container port (PA)

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: The only way is Essex - and David Cameron hits the superport's heights to show why

Possibly to illustrate the point that “Britain’s role in the world” is very much a work in  progress these days, David Cameron made a speech about it on a building site.

Andy McSmith's Diary: The wages of spin are … unreliable, so pitch for the next job

In this country, you can be forgiven if the name John McTernan rings no bells.

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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
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Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
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Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
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A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
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J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
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Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick