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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Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
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Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
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Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
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Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
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Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

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Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

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Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
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