George Osborne during a visit to AW Hainsworth and Sons textile manufacturer in October.

UK GDP: British economy growing at fastest rate since 2007

Official figures show UK economy grew 0.7% in the fourth quarter bringing the annual growth rate to 1.9%

Andy McSmith's Westminster Diary: David Cameron’s legal objection to 'third-party harassment' would make an old racist comic smile

If Silvester is right about the floods, the Almighty must be very cross

As attention turns to Geneva, Assad is starving millions of Syrians

6.3 million people are now in critical need of food

Hamish McRae: There has always been tension between France and the UK – but we face the same practical difficulties

Economic View: The only comparable region in terms of overall spending is Scandinavia

Large breeding snails of the 'gros gris' variety in Helen Howard's production unit

Snails? Farmers just can’t keep up with demand from British diners

Heliculturists have increased production 25-fold since 2000. Cahal Milmo meets some and finds out why more home cooks and chefs are shelling out

Beyoncé and Jay-Z publicly reneged on their vegan efforts in a seafood restaurant

No meat, no dairy, no problem: is 2014 the year vegans become mainstream?

As a German vegan supermarket opens its doors in Britain for the first time, veganism comes in from the cold

Detail of breast cancer cells - the new treatment uses body's own immune defences to seek out and destroy tumour cells

Potential revolution in cancer treatment voted breakthrough of the year by scientists

New treatment uses body’s own immune defences to seek out and destroy tumour cells wherever they appear

5,000 years of scrounging: Scientists discover world’s earliest evidence of cats living off humans

New study reveals proof for first time of how cats became ‘domesticated’

The frequent killings of top predators, such as wolves, bears and coyotes, benefit 'a small proportion of the nation's private agriculture' and other interests

Wildlife Services: Critics target America's ‘rogue’ assassins who kill 3 million animals a year

A US government  programme to control wildlife is under fire for being inhumane

Scientists ‘incredibly concerned’ for fate of banana as plagues and fungus infections spread across world’s supplies

Warning comes as Costa Rica declares 'national emergency' over state of crop

Tesco said customers avoided ugly or misshapen fruit, meaning it ended up going to waste

Tesco to combat fussy customers with discounts on ‘ugly’ fruit and veg

Supermarket tells MPs people must be ‘educated’ about waste and fresh food

2,000 dead mice dropped on Guam by US helicopters to kill snakes

Brown tree snakes have caused numerous costly problems

A dramatic increase in the number of people who enjoy the taste of reindeer is putting pressure on stocks in Finland

Demand for Dasher and Dancer at dinner tables strains Finland's reindeer stocks

Suppliers are turning down requests for the exotic meat for fear of depleting the forests

Pilgrims visit the Imam Ali shrine in Najaf

In magical Najaf the old stories are still the best

World View: The Shia record of governance here is not good, but the city's ancient heroes remain untarnished

Cats recognise their owners' voices but never evolved to care, says study

Japanese researchers tested cats' reactions to their owners, suggesting that because cats "domesticated themselves" they never needed to take notice

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk