News A Syrian woman carries a child on her shoulder at a refugee camp in Jordan

Some Conservative MPs have criticised the U-turn by David Cameron under which about 500 refugees from Syria will be allowed to enter Britain.

'We asked the people [for votes], and the people have given. Now it’s our turn to reciprocate,' said the chief minister-elect of Northern Province, the retired Supreme Court justice C V Wigneswaran

Tamil National Alliance triumphs in Sri Lanka polls

Victory gives party platform to campaign for autonomous  federal state

'We are all to blame for climate change': Experts hope that the strengthening evidence will help to bolster the political will to act

Scientists are to tell the international community that they are at least 95 per cent sure that human activity is the main cause of climate change, according to one of the most authoritative reports on the subject.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

Syria crisis: President Assad denies his government carried out deadly chemical attack in US TV interview

Mr Assad also paid tribute to Russia for blocking resolutions targeting the regime in the UN Security Council

President Assad meets the former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark in Damascus, who is heading a US delegation to Syria

Syria crisis: West backs down on demand for threat of war in UN resolution

The move means intervention in the conflict is unlikely in the near future

Syria crisis: UK weapons experts could be sent to assist international efforts to rid Assad regime of chemical weapons

Foreign Secretary William Hague rules out UK troops being deployed to provide experts with security

A Syrian couple mourn in front of bodies following what has now been confirmed by the UN as a toxic gas attack

Syria gas attacks: the clear and concise evidence from UN chemical weapons inspectors

UN concludes sarin gas used in conditions ‘designed to cause maximum suffering’

The UN's statistics on sexual violence are shocking, but they also point the way for change

Changing our idea of masculinity is the key to preventing violence against women

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un

North Korea nuclear production may have restarted, images show

Plutonium enrichment plant closed in 2007 as part of aid deal

The so-called 'bedroom tax' will affect 660,000 social housing tenants

Why on earth has the UN stuck its neck into the bedroom tax?

There is no basis for a Brazilian ex-politician to lecture us on social housing

Syria crisis: Executions, hospital bombings and at least 8 massacres - UN report on Assad's regime and rebels

Commission's four independent experts are also investigating nine more suspected mass killings since March

United Nations official Raquel Rolnik and Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps

Grant Shapps protests to UN over special investigator's 'disgraceful' comments on 'bedroom tax'

Tory chairman writes to UN secretary general demanding an apology

The Delhi bus gang-rape conviction is not the only example of lax cultural attitudes to sexual violence

A study showed almost a quarter of men in the Asia-Pacific region admit rape. It seems sexual violence is regarded by some men as an acceptable part of relations with women

David Cameron told MPs that he is sceptical about Russia’s intentions

Is Syria's plan just a 'ruse'? David Cameron seeks urgent UN resolution to test proposal

PM fears plan to move Syria’s chemical weapons to internationally controlled sites inside the country could be 'delaying tactics' to buy time for Assad regime

Syria civil war: Russia demands United Nations report on risk of nuclear ‘catastrophe’

Letter to international atomic watchdog warns of fallout if missiles hit Damascus reactor, amid fears nuclear materials could fall into the hands of terrorists

John Kerry: rallying support for Obama’s hard line on Syria

John Kerry to meet William Hague in London for Syria talks

US Secretary of State will meet British Foreign Secretary as America continues its hardline campaign to rally support for military strike against Assad

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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