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Illustration: Getty Images

It just has not felt like Christmas as we know it, with family gatherings restricted and homecomings cancelled. That television advertisement with a (...)

John le Carré: Thriller writer most famous for stories of complex cold war intrigue began his career as a real-life spy in postwar Europe. Photograph: David Levenson/Getty Images

John le Carré, who forged thrillers from equal parts of adventure, moral courage and literary flair, has died aged 89. Le Carré explored the gap betw(...)

Traffic cones block the entrance to Cransley School in Northwich, Cheshire, England, which is closed for the rest of the week for a ‘deep clean’ after pupils and teachers came back from the Lombardy region. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

A number of teachers and pupils from schools in Northern Ireland have been sent home to self-quarantine after they were on recent school trips in nort(...)

The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is one of the comforting and stable traditions of Christmas throughout the English-speaking world. It has beco(...)

One of the huge achievements of Debbie Horsfield’s adaptation of the Poldark novels is its determination to dramatise, alongside the bodice ripping, the core social conflicts experienced by the first industrial generation. Photograph: Robert Viglasky

The BBC drama series Poldark is becoming eerily relevant to our times. The hero, George Warleggan – a dashing banker and mining entrepreneur – has suc(...)

A seagull takes flight at Loreto school in  Balbriggan, where students have completed at study on the birds which land around the school. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Balbriggan is the subject of an experiment, one that has been provoked by years of complaints from locals about the behaviour of the gulls that have c(...)

The 2012 flag dispute in Belfast City Council, which paralysed Stormont for years, shows how drips of poison on the ground in Northern Ireland can seep suddenly, disastrously upwards. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

In Northern Ireland, to paraphrase Tip O’Neill, all stupid politics is local. The lowest form of a territorial dispute is the marking of territory an(...)