Arts & Entertainment

One of the most brutal battles of the Second World War was the Nazi offensive against Stalingrad where atrocities were committed on both sides and the soldiers also had to contend with starvation and freezing conditions during a lengthy siege.

Aussaresses: he was thought to have lost his eye at war; it was later reported that it was in fact a failed cataract operation

Paul Aussaresses: General who fought in the Algerian war for independence and in retirement was tried for defending the use of torture

Paul Aussaresses was a French army general who in the final years of his life dispassionately revealed the torture techniques he employed during the Algerian war for independence and defended them as appropriate measures in the modern age of terrorism. Aussaresses spent nearly his entire career in the service of his country's military. He was described as a hero of the Second World War and fought in the French Indochina War before being posted to Algeria at the outset of the anticolonial rebellion there in 1954.

Waters poses with a Speed Graphic press camera in 1952

Fred Waters: Second World War veteran who earned a Purple Heart and went on to take pictures in Korea and Vietnam

Fred Waters was a photographer for Associated Press who covered everything from the Korean and Vietnam wars to the construction of the Gateway Arch. Waters was born in Alabama in 1927. His family moved to Miami in the 1930s and he got a job as a clerk in the photographic lab of the Miami Herald.

The News Matrix: Wednesday 11 December 2013

Two French troops killed in gun battle

Heffron in 2007, when his memoir 'Brothers in Battle, Best of Friends' came out

Private Edward Heffron: Private with Easy Company whose wartime exploits were recorded in the HBO series 'Band of Brothers'

Edward "Babe" Heffron was a soldier whose Second World War service as a member of the US Army's famed Easy Company was recounted in the book and TV miniseries Band of Brothers. Heffron and his comrades fought some of the war's fiercest battles. A paratrooper in Company E, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, Heffron took part in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium and helped liberate the Kaufering concentration camp in Landsberg. He received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

Better late than never: 90-year-old grandmother waits seven decades to graduate from University of Manchester after WW2 got in the way

Gene Hetherington finally collects her BA in Commerce at a ceremony alongside her 23-year-old granddaughter

The News Matrix: Monday 9 December 2013

Protesters topple Lenin statue in Kiev

A French soldier patrols the streets of Bangui in the Central African Republic

After days of sectarian violence, French troops bring calm to the Central African Republic

Fighting between rival militias and random attacks on civilians has killed at least 400 people in three days

An English Affair: Sex, Class and Power in the Age of Profumo, By richard Davenport-Hines - Paperbacks of the Year review

Davenport-Hines relishes the class split in this wonderful and exacting social history of the Fifties and Sixties. Things were being revealed, that hadn’t been revealed before, about a certain class of people: the aristocracy and the politicians who emerged from it, such as Harold Macmillan.

Outraged of Tunbridge Wells, Edited by Nigel Cawthorne - Review

Kenneth Gregory’s 1983 collection of letters to The Times, The First Cuckoo, is a classic; then in the past few years we’ve had a steady supply of loo books, essentially compilations of unpublished readers’ letters to various publications to stuff into Christmas stockings. Now, the British Library habitue, Nigel Cawthorne, has mined the archives to find the best letters in the “Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells” vein. They all come from the same paper, the Tunbridge Wells Advertiser, from the beginning of the 20th century to the mid-Fifties, so we don’t get the pleasure of Tunbridge Wells residents harrumphing about contemporary issues, Sir Herbert Gussett-style, that we might expect.

Radio Days: The golden age of AM is long gone but it’s cherished by many Americans

Turning up the voice of America

The warm crackle and hiss of AM radio lives on in the US, and is about to get a boost that could put it back at the heart of communities

US war veteran detained by North Korea Merrill Newman free to fly home after "apologising"

Merrill Newman, 85, was taken off a plane last month, accused of ordering the deaths of North Koreans during the 1950-3 war.

Premier League to donate new football pitch at Ypres to commemorate 'Christmas Truce' match during First World War

The Premier League is to donate a floodlit football pitch to mark the centenary of the Christmas Truce match which saw British and German troops play each other during the First World War.

Domino's Pizza plunges over chief executive surprise resignation

Shares of Domino’s Pizza plunged more than 9 per cent in early trading today as the company stunned investors with the news of its chief executive’s resignation.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Bad news - Capita’s visa task bombs. Good news - they’re paid by results

More than a year has passed since the UK Border Agency awarded a four-year, £30m contract to a private firm, Capita, to track down immigrants who have overstayed their visas in the UK. Hiring a private firm for a task that is normally the responsibility of the state did not escape criticism. “We are appalled the Government has offered a contract of this size to a private company,” Ruth Grove-White, policy director at the Migrants Rights Network, told The Independent.

5 ways elephants changed history: A brief history of stomping victories and disastrous reversals

It was the arrival of the cannon in the 19th century that finally heralded the end of elephants being used as an instrument of war. Until that time, from as early as 1000BC, they trampled across battlefields around the globe, through wars in places as far flung as Yemen and Sri Lanka.

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