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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Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
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The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
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After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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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