News

All the talk has been of cabinet reshuffles in the run-up to the party conference season – but now it looks like they may be delayed until after it is over.

Miliband was 'tempted' to join fees protest

Labour leader Ed Miliband said he was "tempted" to join student protesters on the streets this week but was "doing something else".

Mephedrone ban blamed for rise in cocaine deaths

Banning the "dance drug" mephedrone may have cost lives rather than saving them – by driving users back to cocaine, an expert said yesterday.

Diary: Mandy out of step with Beeb

Waltzing Peter Mandelson, seen here strutting his stuff at Blackpool's Tower Ballroom, will not be appearing on his beloved Strictly Come Dancing, but controversy still rages as to who snubbed whom: Mandy or the BBC. The former First Secretary suggested stroppily to Total Politics magazine that no invitation to strut his stuff had been forthcoming: "They had their opportunity [to ask me]," he said, "and now they can get lost." Yet the Corporation's head of comms for Entertainment insists that, on the contrary, Mandelson declined an offer to take part – unlike cross-party fox-trotters Ann Widdecombe and Vince Cable, who is due to feature in a Christmas special. Well, it is two years since Mandy first expressed his interest in the show; perhaps the Beeb just played too hard to get.

Simon Carr: Asset or liability? Only George really knows

Sketch: The only meaning money will have is what the Georges say it's worth

John Rentoul: AJ4PM Committee reconvenes

Alan Johnson, the shadow chancellor, is certainly ruthless enough to have been prime minister. I detected an assertion of his authority while his leader was on paternity leave in his speech at the RSA on Thursday, about which I wrote in The Independent on Sunday today.

Decision on deportation of hit-and-run asylum seeker

An asylum seeker who left a 12-year-old girl dying under his car in a hit-and-run accident could be kicked out of Britain today after his victim's family fought to have him deported.

Last Night's TV: Britain's Trillion Pound Horror Story/Channel 4<br />Misfits/E4<br />Kara Tointon: Don't Call Me Stupid/BBC3

Oh, all right. I wouldn't have got it either. Sad but true: if you had asked me what the national debt was, I wouldn't have been able to give you a figure. If you asked me the difference between that and the budget deficit, I probably wouldn't get it either. Thank goodness it's not part of my job.

Labour endorses graduate tax

Labour is to endorse a graduate tax as its official policy after Ed Miliband overruled Alan Johnson, the shadow Chancellor, who has expressed grave doubts about the idea.

Taxpayers 'will be fined' for child benefit breach

Higher rate taxpayers who fail to declare that their partners are claiming child benefit will be fined under planned welfare reforms, it was disclosed today.

Matthew Norman: Alan Johnson is just the man for the battle Labour must fight

The Shadow Chancellor needs to do what doesn't come naturally to him, and get livid about this systemic attack on human potential

Relief for Osborne on rare day of good news

George Osborne received a double helping of good news yesterday: better-than-expected figures on the strength of the recovery and an upgrade from the credit-ratings agency Standard & Poor.

John Rentoul: Ed Miliband needs a plan, and soon

Labour politicians' answer to the question, 'What would you do?' invariably starts with, 'Not this'

Leading article: Where is the Labour alternative?

This was the biggest week yet for the Coalition Government.

The Sketch: The amateurs are in charge, and who knows what will happen next?

What a week in Parliament it was; what a month it has been. So much New Generation news, we need a recap.

Spending Review: What Osborne said &ndash; and what he meant

It was a speech as political as it was fiscal and economic. John Rentoul separates the substance from the spin
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Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
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Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
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After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas