A woman takes a ‘selfie’ near a portrait of Mao Zedong on Tiananmen Square in Beijing, where the 12th National People’s Congress gets under way in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Thursday. Photograph: Wu Hong/EPA

China’s National People’s Congress gets under way on Thursday and the annual talking shop is set to approve a 10 per cent increase in the defence budg(...)

Japan’s crown prince Naruhito with his wife, crown princess Masako, and daughter Princess Aiko:  he said last week it was important to “look back humbly on the past” and “correctly” pass on the tragic experiences of history. Photograph: Imperial Household Agency of Japan/Reuters

Japan’s emperor famously renounced his divine status after the second World War, making him essentially a ceremonial figure. Yet, for many Japanese th(...)

The primary driver of the rise in global output is expected to be a 75 per cent jump in global average real output per head, as the prosperity of emerging economies catches up with that of high-income countries

Our ancestors lived in eras we call the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Ours is the “fossil-fuel age”. The energy we have extracted from t(...)

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu: his  acceptance of an invitation to address Congress from Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner was a direct snub to US  president Barack Obama given that it circumvented traditional diplomatic protocol through the White House. Photograph: Gary Cameron/Reuters  1:35

The political hurricane caused by Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu on his United States visit leaves him and President Barack Obama at even g(...)

  Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu: US-led talks posed a “grave threat, not only to Israel but also to the peace of the entire world”. Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty  1:35

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu delivered a stinging attack on Barack Obama’s plans for a nuclear deal with Iran on the US president’s home(...)

Xi Jinping at the opening session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference at the Great Hall of the People in  Beijing on Tuesday. Since coming to power in March 2012, Mr Xi has come down hard on press freedom. Photograph: Feng Li/Getty Images

Getting a foreign journalist visa in China was easier last year than in previous years, according to a survey by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of C(...)

The writing has been on the wall for a while, but what a few weeks it has been for Irish beef – Ireland is now the only European country to be allowed(...)

Traditional Chinese Junkboat sailing across Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong

Slowing economic growth in China combined with anxiety over the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong has translated into the first drop in mainland tou(...)

 “I’m just delighted I survived. I still can’t believe it. I keep  reminding myself I’m only a whippersnapper. If I glimpse myself in a mirror, it’s like, who’s that?” Paula Meehan,  at her  home in Dublin. Photograph: Dave Meehan
Paula Meehan: the poet at 60

When Michael D Higgins hosted a cultural evening in the Forbidden City in Beijing on his state visit to China in December, he invited Paula Meehan (...)

SDLP leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell said the so-called ‘Brexit’ possibility transcended traditional divisions on the islands

Uncertainty over Britain’s future membership of the EU is undermining the political stability necessary for prosperity, the annual British-Irish chamb(...)