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The Defence secretary Philip Hammond is under Opposition fire for wasting tens of millions of pounds on the failed semi-privatisation of a weapons-buying agency only to “adopt” Labour’s proposed reforms from 2011.

Syria's Assad meets Iran security chief as he appears on TV for first time in 2 weeks

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appeared on television for the first time in two weeks today in footage showing him meeting Saeed Jalili, the head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, in Damascus.

The Letter of Last Resort /Good With People, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Two fine short plays set in the shadow of the low-level nuclear threat by leading Scottish playwrights David Greig and David Harrower prove a shining gem in this year's Traverse programme.

Gunmen kill 16 Egyptian soldiers on border with Gaza and Israel

Masked gunmen killed 16 Egyptian soldiers at a checkpoint along the border with Gaza and Israel, the first such attack on troops.

Afghan parliament votes to remove key ministers

The Afghan parliament passed votes of no confidence Saturday to remove the country's defense and interior ministers, a move that threatens to throw the country's security apparatus into confusion as foreign forces withdraw.

Mr Grossman acknowledged in the liberal daily Haaretz that a nuclear-armed Iran was a “real danger”. But he said an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities “could turn out to be the biggest mistake ever by an Israeli government.”

Leading novelist David Grossman challenges Israel over failure to oppose unilateral strike on Iran

He also described Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as having a “megalomaniacal” vision

Members of the armed forces at rest at Tobacco Dock as Mayor of London Boris Johnson visited

Soldiers complain about London 2012 living conditions as Boris Johnson visits

Soldiers complained today about “horrible” living conditions, boredom and a lack of Olympics tickets as Boris Johnson visited their packed warehouse base in London.

Australia rejects proposal to base a US nuclear aircraft carrier group near Perth

Australia, which tries to tread a fine line between supporting its closest ally, the US, and not upsetting China, its biggest trading partner, yesterday rejected a proposal to base a US nuclear aircraft carrier group near Perth, saying it did not want American bases in the country.

The new Prime Minister, Hisham Qandil, was sworn in with his
cabinet in yesterday, forming the first government since Mohamed Morsi was elected President

New Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil and cabinet are sworn in

The new Prime Minister, Hisham Qandil, was sworn in with his cabinet in yesterday, forming the first government since Mohamed Morsi was elected President.

Female British Army personnel arrive to patrol the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London

London 2012: Complaints over 'substandard accommodation' for troops guarding Olympic sites

Soldiers guarding Olympic sites in London are being housed in what family members of the personnel describe as substandard accommodation.

A G4S security guard

London 2012: G4S security guard accused of spitting at soldier and calling him 'baby killer' at Olympic archery event

Security guard alleged to have abused soldier in an apparent reference to his service in Afghanistan after the member of 35 Engineers asked to search him.

SNP defence spokesman raises questions over MoD whistleblowing restrictions

A Scottish parliamentarian has exposed an internal document which bans the military from talking to their own MPs and has demanded to know what the Ministry of Defence has to hide.

70-year-old Spitfire crash site searched for human remains

A search has begun for human remains at the site of a Second World War Spitfire crash almost 70 years ago.

Nick Clegg sets out mental health plan

Businesses should have an employee who is trained to help workers suffering mental health problems, Nick Clegg said today.

War trauma linked to domestic attacks, study shows

One in eight soldiers has attacked someone after coming home from fighting, a new study shows.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
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
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

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
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

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
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

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
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

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

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

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

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

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
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there