Syrian President Bashar al-Assad: “If we negotiate, it does not mean that we stop fighting terrorism”. Photograph: Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images

Bashar al-Assad has dealt a swift blow to international efforts to secure a ceasefire, deliver aid and promote a negotiated solution to the war in Sy(...)

Pope Francis in conversation with head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill, in Havana, Cuba. Photograph: Getty Images

Pope Francis arrived in Havana on Friday to meet the head of the Russian Orthodox Church nearly 1,000 years after eastern orthodoxy split with Rome, m(...)

Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and US secretary of state John Kerry  in Munich. Photograph: Alexandra Beier/Getty Images

The Munich agreement reached early on Friday by 17 countries belonging to the Syria support group specified that immediate humanitarian access is to b(...)

China’s economic growth fell to 6.9 per cent for 2015, the slowest rate in 25 years

Kyle Bass, the American hedge fund manager who correctly called the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis, believes China is heading for financial chaos becau(...)

 Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov (left), US secretary of state John Kerry and UN special envoy of the secretary general for Syria Staffan de Mistura hold a press conference after the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) meeting in Munich, Germany. Photograph: Sven Hoppe/EPA

Major powers agreed on Friday to a cessation of hostilities in Syria set to begin in a week and to provide rapid humanitarian access to besieged Syria(...)

Baked images of Pope Francis are part of the production of a bakery in Morelia, Michoacan State, Mexico. The pope  will visit four Mexican states during his time there. Photograph: Enrique Castro/AFP/Getty

This is one occasion when the word “historic” definitely applies. When Pope Francis meets Patriarch Kirill of Moscow in Havana, Cuba, on Friday, it wi(...)

Syrian refugees wait before the Oncupinar crossing gate near the town of Kilis, in south-central Turkey. Photograph: Getty Images

As the sun inches towards the centre of the sky and noon approaches, the sound of the call to prayer ripples through the air. Here, on the Turkish-Syr(...)

Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey (foreground) have a six-nation fight for Olympic selection in the 49erfx class next month in Spain. Photo: Brian Carlin.

An Irish berth at the Rio Olympics hangs in the balance following the announcement of an unexpected African entry in the women’s International 49erfx(...)

Russian President Vladimir Putin with Rosneft chief executive Igor Sechin. The head of  the state-controlled oil company told an energy conference  the world’s top producers would not give ground. Photograph: Reuters

The most powerful figure in Russia’s oil industry yesterday signalled his steadfast opposition to combining with Opec to reverse the crude price rout (...)

 People trying to  leave the besieged town of Madaya in this file photograph from last month.  Doctors Without Borders says dozens of people have died of starvation in the town since September. Photograph: AP

The residents of the besieged Syrian town of Madaya say they are again facing starvation as meagre supplies delivered last month are already running o(...)