News Office politics: Mr Ortikov’s troubles began as a British embassy employee

Guard who refused to be a spy says UK turned its back on him

World Cup Round-Up: Unbeaten Dutch book finals place

Van Bommel strike makes Netherlands first Europeans to qualify for South Africa

Simon Reid-Henry: To brush aside torture is to condone it

Denials of involvement in torture, such as those by Tony Blair, are not enough. A full judicial inquiry is needed

I'm no poster boy: President demands removal of images

Tajikistan leader says any use of his photograph must receive prior approval

Australia close to World Cup qualification

Australia were on the brink of booking their place at next year's World Cup finals in South Africa after beating Uzbekistan 2-0 at the Olympic Stadium in Sydney yesterday. Substitute Josh Kennedy broke the deadlock after 66 minutes with a header before forward Harry Kewell sealed the win in the 73rd with a penalty.

Kroenke raises stakes in battle of billionaires

Secretive American tycoon outflanks Russian rival in Arsenal's power struggle

Outside the Box: Argy-bargy indeed as 18 see red and General brawl is abandoned

Something of a South American theme this week, reflecting the fact that football rarely experiences a dull day in that part of the world. Those of a certain age will remember gasping at grainy black-and-white footage of the fighting and kicking matches when Racing Club of Buenos Aires took on Celtic and then Estudiantes met Manchester United in the World Club Cup.

Foreign Office is beset by culture of timidity, say staff

Internal audit says pervasive fear of failure allows mediocrity to flourish

Making a Living in the Middle Ages, By Christopher Dyer

A work of medieval economic history may not sound the most riveting read but Dyer's erudite, sweeping account of Britain's finances between 850 and 1520 turns out to be endlessly fascinating and often relevant to our own plight. As Dyer remarks, economic history is "the only branch of history which gives pride of place to the whole population".

My Life In Travel: Nick Clegg, MP

In St Petersburg I saw the house where my grandmother was born’

Usmanov firm increase Arsenal stake

An investment firm co-owned by billionaire Alisher Usmanov have increased their stake in Arsenal to 25 per cent.

Philip Hensher: Been there, done that is our dilemma

'What about Uzbekistan?" Zaved said. I thought hard. "Mosques," I said. "Silk road. Bokhara. Samarkand – is that in Uzbekistan? And there were those two British officers that got themselves decapitated by an Amir. We could go and see their graves, I suppose. Connolly and Stoddart. I just wonder –" "What?" "I just don't know if it's totally the place I want to go on my honeymoon."

Australia hold off Japan to stay on course for finals

Australia took a major step towards qualifying for the 2010 World Cup finals by securing a scoreless draw away at Japan yesterday in a key Asian qualifier. The result maintained unbeaten Australia's two-point lead atop Group One halfway through the last full round of qualifying. The Socceroos, with 10 points, have three of their last four matches at home.

Kazakhstan: Steppe by step

Kazakhstan is a nation of vast, dramatic landscapes, shining modern cities and people who always 'welcome everybody into their tent', as Jerome Taylor discovers

Small Talk: 'Minor metals' firm aims to tap major growth

For some weeks now this column has mildly mocked companies that are trumpeting their intention to list on the Alternative Investment Market and raise money. Due to the not-so-clever market conditions, and unwillingness of investors to seek sanctuary in anything beyond the big stocks, smaller groups have generally had a tough start to life on the markets. Fundraising has been largely out of the question.

Eaton holds aces to hit unlikely heights

Chris Eaton left his parents' home in his patched up Vauxhall Astra yesterday morning, strung his own tennis racket and prepared for his seventh match of his year's Wimbledon; one which no one gave him – a player ranked 661st in the world – the faintest hope of winning.

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Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
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Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
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UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
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Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
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Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
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A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

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