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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.

General Dawoud Rajha: One of the architects of the Syrian crackdown

Syria's Defence Minister General Dawoud Rajha was the most senior government official to be killed in the Syrian uprising. As a Greek Orthodox Christian, he was something of a rarity in the Syrian military establishment, which is dominated by the Alawite sect of President Bashar al-Assad.

Briton killed in Afghanistan shooting named as Dave Chamberlain

A British civilian contractor shot dead by someone wearing an Afghan national security force uniform was a father of two from Kent.

Three Nato service members killed in Afghanistan

Insurgent attacks have killed three Nato service members in eastern Afghanistan.

Syrian forces stretched as intelligence chief dies

A fourth member of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's inner circle died today from a bomb attack this week and his forces fought to recapture border posts and parts of Damascus from rebels who have converged on the capital.

Servicemen and women allowed to march in uniform at San Diego's Gay Pride Parade

Servicemen and women are being allowed to march in uniform in a gay pride parade for the first time in US history.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, left, and his new Defence Minister, Fahad Jassim al-Freij, in Damascus yesterday

Hunt for Assad is on amid claims of wife Asma's exit to Russia

President allays injury suspicions with TV appearance to swear in Defence Minister

Syria shells rebels in Damascus

Syrian government forces are shelling a number of neighbourhoods in and around the capital Damascus, anti-regime activists say, a day after a bomb killed three members of president Bashar Assad's inner circle.

The Government could break the link between benefits and inflation, David Cameron said today

David Cameron presses Russia over Syria action

David Cameron has heaped pressure on Russia to back tough action against the Syrian regime amid fears the country is sliding into civil war.

HMS Vanguard, one of Britain's Trident nuclear submarines

Lib Dems push for 'stand-by' Trident replacement deal

Party leaders say proposal not to replace Vanguard subs would save billions and set them apart from the Tories

Dawoud Rajha, Defence Minister

Architects of regime's brutal crackdown pay the ultimate price

The Damascus bombing killed or severely injured four out of about eight of Bashar al-Assad's inner circle, who have been responsible for directing the bloody crackdown since the start of the uprising.

Leading article: The turning of the tide in Syria

The bomb at the National Security headquarters in Damascus yesterday struck a potentially fatal blow at the heart of the Assad regime.

Crowds in Damascus celebrate the news of yesterday’s bomb strikes

A ruthless attack that proves Assad is not invincible

After 16 months of brutality, Syria's President yesterday experienced it at his own door

David Cameron enjoys sausages with Afghanistan troops

David Cameron shared a lunch of German sausage and potato with soldiers as he questioned them about capabilities of their Afghan counterparts.

G4S chief executive Nick Buckles gives evidence on Olympic security staffing to the Home Affairs Select Committee

Government to activate every penalty clause in G4S’s £57 million contract after chaotic Olympic security arrangements

Sports minister Hugh Robertson says G4S’s £57 million ‘management fee’ would be targeted

William Hague condemns Syria bombing

William Hague today condemned the reported killing of Syria's defence minister.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform