Arts and Entertainment

One of the most brutal battles of the Second World War was the Nazi offensive against Stalingrad where atrocities were committed on both sides and the soldiers also had to contend with starvation and freezing conditions during a lengthy siege.

Activist calls for new broom at antiques dealer Mallett

Activist investor Peter Gyllenhammar is preparing to overhaul Mallett, the 148-year-old London antiques dealer.

Kim Jong-un

Alarm at North Korea's nuclear threat - but the regime may fall from within

The Drip's previous engagement with North Korea's Kim Jong Un has been to wonder at the boy-dictator's good looks. Now there's more serious matters afoot. A leader in this week's Economist raises concern that Mr Kim may be ready to host a nuclear test - and has been prophesying future war. Like father, like son.

Kravchuk, Shushkevich and Yeltsin sign the agreement

Reds not dead? Document that dissolved the Soviet Union goes missing

The historic document that heralded the collapse of the Soviet Union has gone missing from an archive in Belarus, according to one of its signatories.

Album review: Roger Woodward, Prokofiev: Works for Piano (Celestial Harmonies)

Those familiar with Prokofiev mostly through Peter and the Wolf will be shocked at the Modernist invention of his lesser-known early piano works, delivered with enthusiastic conviction by Roger Woodward in these 1991 recordings.

The statue of the former president of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev, in Mexico City

Moving of statue strains Mexican link with Azerbaijan

The heart of Mexico City contains statues of a number of political figures from beyond Central America, among them Winston Churchill and Mahatma Gandhi.

Russian mobster 'Grandpa Khasan' shot dead in Moscow

One of Russia's top crime bosses has been murdered in Moscow in a war between two mobs over lucrative construction projects, including ones for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Jeanne Vertefeuille: CIA officer who unmasked the spy Aldrich Ames

She was, at first glance, the classic little old lady. Jeanne Vertefeuille, brought up as an only child, never married. She lived alone in a modest apartment and invariably walked to work. She might have been a librarian, a clerk, or a quiet pillar of her local church community. In fact she led the team that unmasked the most damaging mole in the history of the CIA.

Paperbacks: Just Send Me Word By Orlando Figes

This book begins tamely – Lev and Sveta, two Russian teenagers quietly falling in love. It progresses into one of the most dramatic true histories of the gulag era.

Mad Russian scientist throws boiling water over a balcony

"Oh those crazy Russians!" as Boney M once so astutely observed. It might be - 41 degrees outside but YouTube user lifehackertv is not sitting indoors under his slanket watching Homeland

Vishnevskaya; she later directed operas

Galina Vishnevskaya: Soprano whose voice entranced Britten and who fled the Soviet Union

Galina Vishnevskaya was famous both as a singer and as the wife of the cellist, Mstislav Rostropovich. As a singer she was famous, in Britain at least, for being forbidden to take the soprano solos at the first performance of Benjamin Britten's War Requiem in 1962 in the newly consecrated Coventry Cathedral; and then for throwing a spectacular tantrum during the recording sessions of the same work in London the following year.

Avigdor Lieberman: The minister said he would try to clear his name before the election

Avigdor Lieberman: Israel’s far-right firebrand quits over fraud charges

Exit weakens Netanyahu coalition ahead of national elections

Duncan Fletcher: India's coach has presided over side's fall from first to fifth in the rankings

The Indian Angle: Futures of Dhoni, Fletcher and national game at stake

Indians did not actually say – as Viv Richards once did after India had beaten the West Indies on an underprepared track in Chennai – "come home and we'll show you". But it was implied after MS Dhoni's men lost the series in England 4-0 last year. Well, England have come, and it is India who are being shown up. It might be too early to write India off in the Kolkata Test, but if the England players take time out to check the price of champagne here, it is understandable.

Mary Dejevsky: Britain should pass its own Magnitsky Act

It is possible that a 44-year-old Russian, whose body was found outside his house in Weybridge two weeks ago, died of natural causes. Such things happen. But this does not alter the fact that Alexander Perepilichnyy's death is mighty convenient. Who benefits? Other Russians whose nefarious activities stood to be exposed by his cooperation with Swiss banking investigators. Nor would they be just any other Russians, but state officials, police, tax officers and others implicated in the case of Sergei Magnitsky.

Alexander Perepilichnyy lived in exile in Weybridge at the St Georges Hill estate

Alexander Perepilichnyy: Another mightily convenient Russian death

Who benefits? People whose nefarious activities stood to be exposed  by this whistleblower.

Tajikistan blocks Facebook access to silence critics of president

Tajikistan has blocked access to Facebook in response to a slew of comments spreading "mud and slander" about veteran President Imomali Rakhmon and officials in the Central Asian republic.

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Independent Travel
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona from £629pp
Dubrovnik
Vietnam
Bruges
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 12 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas