News Syrian refugees look out from an evacuated house in Istanbul. Hundreds of Syrian refugees will be allowed to come to Britain under new government plans

Hundreds of Syrian refugees will be allowed to come to Britain under plans to be announced by the Government on Wednesday.

Succession of gaffes that could only end one way

No one was more surprised than Alan Johnson when he was appointed shadow Chancellor just over three months ago. He even attempted to turn his inexperience into a joke. Asked what his first move would be in the job, he replied: "Pick up a primer – 'economics for beginners'."

The last post for Johnson... but will Balls deliver for Labour?

Ed Miliband's drive to revive the Labour Party's fortunes suffered a major setback last night with the surprise resignation of the Shadow Chancellor, Alan Johnson.

Foreign Office in 'how to spend £1m' storm

The head of the government department responsible for promoting British business abroad asked officials to think of ways to spend up to £1 million to avoid a budget underspend, it was reported today.

Mary Dejevsky: It helps if doctors speak words we understand

Social Studies: Tony Blair's degradation of the English language should be right up there with his pursuit of an unjust war

Liam Fox cancels Sri Lanka trip

Defence Secretary Liam Fox has cancelled a controversial visit to Sri Lanka he had been planning to make this weekend.

Adrian Hamilton: Cooper hasn't learnt from Labour's mistakes

With the euro teetering on the verge of collapse, a new report by the European Council accusing the Prime Minister of Kosovo of murdering Serbian captives and trading in their body parts, and total uncertainty overhanging Afghanistan's future, foreign policy is no longer a matter of vague principles. It is about what stand you take on the specifics.

Cooper: We should have criticised US over human rights

Labour is preparing a break with its recent past by dropping its unquestioning support of US foreign policy under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

Yvette Cooper: 'If Diplomats feel they can't talk, that is very difficult'

The Shadow Foreign Secretary tells Oliver Wright where America is going wrong in the Middle East – and why she thinks the repercussions from WikiLeaks are so damaging

Steve Richards: Only Tories win from the student saga

If Miliband adopts a graduate tax there will be much internal stirring. If he drops his support, the students will feel betrayed

Leading article: A salutary wake-up call about sleepers

The detention and likely deportation of a young Russian who worked as an MP's assistant make for a tantalising story that reinforces many stereotypes. Coming so soon after the unmasking of a network of Russian sleepers in the United States, it is bound to raise the spectre, justifiably or not, of Britain being similarly targeted. Not that the British security services have been under many illusions about the potential value to the Kremlin of the large Russian presence in the UK. Indeed, it would be more surprising if security services, theirs and ours, were not seeking to exploit this for their own advantage.

MP's aide accused of spying will be deported

"Worrying developments" in the last week led to the arrest of a Westminster parliamentary aide long suspected of spying for Russia.

Osborne in court fight over 'anti-women' cuts

The government failed to consider the impact of its spending cuts on women before pushing ahead with them, the High Court will hear today.

Diary: The paper with teeth

* The News of the World seemed both inspired and confused on the octogenarian dental front. The paper collects Headline of the Week for "Gum And Get It", and Backhanded Compliment of the Decade for this contradictory reference: "Sheila, who looks a lot younger than she is and still has nearly all her own teeth ..." Genius.

John Rentoul: Ed saved Gordon to get his job

The younger Miliband could have helped unseat the former leader, but what good would that have done his own chances?

Diary: Not quite like a Rolling Stone

After it presumably became clear the man himself couldn't be bothered, who better to read the audio version of Keith Richards' memoirs than dashing shipmate Johnny Depp?

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NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

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A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
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Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

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Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own