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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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Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment