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

The Business Secretary, Vince Cable

No. 10 changes its tone over lobbyists

Policy influenced 'where we think they have legitimate concerns'

Lord Bell, the beleaguered chairman of Chime Communications, parent company of Bell Pottinger, is pictured last night outside the lobbying company's Mayfair offices

Revelations: How lobbyists' tentacles spread throughout the Government

Senior executives at Bell Pottinger claimed they could arrange meetings with the Business Secretary's special adviser on behalf of a client.

Bell Pottinger referred to claims that Prince Andrew 'will follow where the chequebook is'

The Palace: Furious reaction to company's claims of royal links

Bell Pottinger boasted of its "links" to the Royal Family to potential clients representing a brutal central Asian dictatorship and suggested that it might be able to organise a royal tour of the country on their behalf.

Sir David Richmond, a key player in Bell Pottinger’s international division

The Sting: The fake 'Azimov Group' meets Bell Pottinger

Britain is gaining a reputation as an international centre of image laundering, with the lack of regulation meaning that PR companies can represent the most repressive regimes without public scrutiny.

The ageing and reclusive President Islam Karimov tolerates no dissent from his country’s people

Vicious dictatorship which Bell Pottinger was prepared to do business with

Exposed: Public relations firm's dealings with some of the world’s most controversial regimes

Alberto Zaccheroni pictured in Pyongyang after the defeat to North Korea

Wasabi taken by North Korean customs officers may have contributed to Japan defeat

Over-zealous North Korean customs officers may have contributed to Japan's first defeat under Italian Alberto Zaccheroni earlier this week after confiscating his favourite tube of wasabi.

Yoshida rides the storm for Japan

Japan squeezed past North Korea 1-0 yesterday with a dramatic injury-time winner in a politically charged World Cup qualifier spared the full fury of a powerful approaching typhoon.

Boxing: Anger over Klitschko title 'upgrade'

The ludicrous reality of four recognised world sanctioning bodies operating inside the boxing business will become even crazier tonight when Russia's Alexander Povetkin and Ruslan Chagaev of Uzbekistan fight for the World Boxing Association's vacant heavyweight title in Germany.

Powerful Uzbekistan quake kills at least 14

A powerful earthquake early yesterday killed at least 14 people in a heavily populated valley in Central Asia. Almost all the casualties were in Uzbekistan, where officials confirmed 13 deaths.

Diary: Common scents for Emma

The fragrant Emma Watson surely needs no artificial perfume to enhance her intoxicating natural scent, so it comes as little surprise that she refuses to wear any.

Militant chief held dressed in burka

A senior leader of an al-Qa'ida-linked militant group has been captured in northern Afghanistan disguised in a burka.

Kroenke deal gets approval

Arsenal say the Premier League have given approval to the takeover of the club by American Stan Kroenke.

Russian immigration official sacked for promoting 'survival of white race'

Russian authorities have fired a top official for saying that the country's immigration policy was tailored to promote the "survival of the white race". Konstantin Poltoranin, the chief spokesman for Russia's Federal Migration Service, also said in televised comments that the "mixing of bloods" has to be managed carefully.

The Possessed, By Elif Batuman

Any reader seriously interested in Russian literature should approach this book with caution. Clearly, Elif Batuman is a Russophile. But in these "adventures with Russian books and the people who read them", as she casts her eye over her favourite authors, the project seems largely driven by a search to find new, improbable "angles". In the pursuit of Tolstoy's murderer or the relationship between imagery used by Isaac Babel and the movie King Kong, Batuman sheds little light on the authors or their books, while wringing maximum comedy from the pursuit.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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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
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Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
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Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
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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
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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
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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
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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

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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

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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
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