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A high proportion of businesses say that job-seekers lack basic literacy and numeracy

Fact File: Welfare Reform

Once the envy of the world, the British welfare system is no longer a unifying source of national pride. Instead it has become – depending on your point of view – the subject of much-needed reform or the victim of merciless cuts.

House of Lords Palace of Westminster Parliament

Fact File: Lords Reform

The UK’s century-long grapple with House of Lords reform might not have the drama of the Arab Spring or the glory of the American Revolution, but the slow pace of change does offer insight into a very British kind of democracy.

There had been hopes the hastily-arranged gathering of leaders in Brussels would agree a deal to secure struggling eurozone members

Fact File: The Eurozone

Officially introduced in 1999, the euro was the realisation of a dream first mooted in 1929.

Fact File: Tax Avoidance

As any first-year accountancy student will tell you, there’s a big difference between tax evasion and tax avoidance. While the former could land you in prison for seven years, the latter is the perfectly legal use of loopholes by celebrities, big business, and anyone else who can afford a financial advisor.

Coronation Street veteran Betty Driver after she received her OBE at Buckingham Palace. The actress who played barmaid Betty Turpin in the ITV soap for 42 years has died today aged 91, said a spokeswoman for the programme.

Fact File: The Honours System

The UK honours system stretches back to the Norman conquest, but it wasn’t until 1917 that it began to recognise ordinary Britons.

<b>Sebastian Coe</b><br/>
The head of Britain's successful Olympic bid and now chair of the London 2012 Organising committee, Coe first shot to fame by winning back to back gold medals in the 1980 Moscow and 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. After retiring from athletics he was elected as a Conservative MP in 1992, but served just one term before losing his seat in the 1997 General election.

Fact File: Olympics 2012

Since London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics, excitement and controversy have been building in the UK at a steady pace.

Barack Obama has gone into full re-election mode as Mitt Romney lengthens his lead in the Republican presidential race

Fact File: US Presidential Elections

Bin Laden is dead. General Motors is alive. That’s the first term summary the Democrats hope American voters will take to the polls, come November. But despite attempts from both campaigns to keep the message simple, the race for the 2012 US Presidential Election, looks to be as complex and closely fought as ever.

Of those stopped by police, 17 per cent were Asian and 10 per cent black

Fact File: Race and the Met

Thirty-two years after the first black officer Norwell Roberts applied to the Metropolitan Police “as a joke” the inquiry into the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation released its report. Apparently little had changed.

Francois Hollande waves from the balcony of the Socialist Party headquarters today

Fact File: Francois Hollande

It was an accident of fate – or perhaps libido – which brought Francois Hollande to the forefront of European politics.

80 per cent of British users access the site regularly via their mobile phone

Fact File: Twitter

Launched in 2006, the micro-blogging site Twitter quickly disproved those who dismissed it as another medium for bores to update the world on what they ate for lunch.

Sir Nicolas Bratza, president of the European Court of Human Rights, has criticised David Cameron for his comments about the institution's 'interference'

Fact File: The European Court of Human Rights

Not to be confused with the European Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) was set up in 1959 to enforce the European Convention on Human Rights and is independent of the European Union.

Afghanistan is set to dominate David Cameron's talks with US president Barack Obama during this week's trip to Washington

Fact File: David Cameron

Elected party leader in 2005, the youthful, well-presented David Cameron aimed to be a modernising force in his party.

Labour leader Ed Miliband holds a Q&A session with local people at the Coin Street Neighbourhood in London

Fact File: Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour Party, grew up in a family of left-wing intellectuals. 

Rupert Murdoch went on what staff called a morale-boosting ‘royal tour’ of The Sun’s newsroom

Fact File: Phone Hacking

From the first whispers of illegal practice at the News of the World in 2006, has grown a scandal large enough to engulf the Metropolitan Police, the entire British political establishment and a globe-straddling media conglomerate.

The love boat: super yacht where Aristotle Onassis and Maria Calas played out their scandalous affair

Fact File: The Super-Rich

Forget the double-dip recession, ignore record unemployment, the rich are getting richer.

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A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
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His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
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Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
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From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week