Brian Hanley, co-ordinator with the Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas, and Bishop John Kirby , ICPO chaiman,  in  Maynooth, Co Kildare. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

The man stood in the arrivals hall in Dublin Airport, feeling euphoric, but also lost, one of an increasing number of Irish people who are deported ba(...)

Agafia Lykova is the last remaining member of a deeply religious family that fled civilisation in 1936 and did not know about the second world war until geologists stumbled upon them in 1978.   Photograph: Ilya Naymushin/Reuters

A 70-year-old hermit who has spent her entire life in the Siberian wilderness has been airlifted to a hospital to treat a pain in her legs. Agafia Ly(...)

 Mary Lawlor, founder and director of Front Line Defenders: “Ireland and the EU must be as strong speaking up for human rights defenders in countries where they have political and strategic interests as they are when it comes to the usual suspects,” she said. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Some 157 human rights activists were killed or died in detention in 25 countries last year, according to the advocacy group Front Line Defenders. T(...)

Greg Hayes, chorister in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, with his parents Lorraine and Tony and sister Holly in advance of the Nine Lessons and Carols performance on Christmas Eve .Photograph: Alan Betson

When you are a child Christmas Eve is the longest day of the year. With time hanging so heavily, it’s no wonder we remember long into adulthood what w(...)

Britain’s astronaut Tim Peake says goodbye to his sons before boarding the   310-tonne ‘Soyuz’ rocket that would launch him into orbit. Photograph: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

Britain’s first European Space Agency astronaut, Tim Peake, has blasted off on a six-month mission to the International Space Station from the Baikonu(...)

Photographers take pictures as Russia’s Soyuz TMA-19M spacecraft carrying the International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 46/47 crew of Britain’s astronaut Tim Peake, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and US astronaut Tim Kopra blasts off from the launch pad in Kazakhstan. Photograph: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

Major Tim Peake has blasted off into orbit on board the Soyuz space capsule on his way to becoming the first British astronaut to join the crew of the(...)

Horse wrestling: a traditional nomad existence gave the Kyrgyz the horseback prowess associated with the most famous central Asian, Ghengis Khan. Today the national sport of Kyrgyzstan is wrestling  and a gory form of polo involving a sheep’s headless carcass. Photograph: Jonathan Korowicz

The market in Bishkek is a mayhem of spices, meat and dowdy attire. You want a lock, glue or fresh pistachios? Some “atum” ground chilli or perhaps a (...)

UK Anti-Doping (Ukad)  carried out analysis on 468 blood and urine samples. The number of adverse findings was a big bagel, zilch, zero.  Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

A fellow called Nursultan Nazarbayev is the president of Kazakhstan. In April of this year Nazarbayev was re-elected with almost 98 per cent of the vo(...)

Iranians walk past a banner showing a portrait of  soldiers killed by Islamic State militants during a mission in  Aleppo in Syria. Photograph: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

Iran will be invited to participate in talks in Vienna on Friday to discuss ending the conflict in Syria and establishing a framework for political tr(...)

Paper tiger money: there is a plausible, if not universally accepted, understanding that China’s growth is overstated by official statistics and may be as low as 4 per cent.  Photograph: Jason Lee/Reuters

Is a global economic recession likely? If so, what might trigger it? Willem Buiter, Citi’s chief economist and the Financial Times’ erstwhile Mavereco(...)