News High-street retail guru Mary Portas

An underwear factory championed by Mary Portas, the retail guru and government advisor, has gone bust – in a blow to her attempts to revive UK manufacturing.

'Telephone tax': Government departments investigated over use of premium-rate phone lines

Department for Transport earned £2.5 million from calls in two years

Glastonbury romance? Revellers watch the sunrise from the stone circle during the festival

Glastonbury Festival 2013 all of a twitter as blue tits nest near Left Field tower

The erection of a steel tower which stands at the head of one of the music areas at the Glastonbury Festival has been delayed after wild birds were discovered in the structure.

The Independent backs media trainee scheme

The Independent is supporting a scheme which aims to increase diversity in journalism by assisting young people who do not have a university degree to pursue a career in the media.

Sana Khan, 18, from East London

Record 370,000 want to join apprenticeships

With almost 1 million youngsters looking for work, every vacancy attracts 11 applications

Leon Osman (l) of Everton celebrates scoring the opening goal with team-mate Leighton Baines

Leon Osman agrees new Everton contract

The 32-year-old England midfielder is a regular in the side

The cast and crew of E4's 'Made In Chelsea' who scooped the award for best reality and constructed factual programme (Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

Bafta TV awards 2013: Lord Sugar miffed that Young Apprentice missed out to Made in Chelsea

Lord Sugar evidently isn’t used to missing out on the big prizes in life. When his reality show Young Apprentice lost out to reality show Made in Chelsea at the British Academy Television Awards last night he might have clapped politely but soon made his displeasure felt elsewhere.

Carlos Tevez with the FA Cup trophy lid upon his head in 2011

The FA Cup: The most accident-prone trophy in football

The oldest piece of silverware in football has been on quite a ride

The Apprentice: Series 9 - Nick Hewer, Lord Alan Sugar and Karren Brady

Apprentice 2013 gets straight to the finger point: Hundreds of the thousands tune in just to see Lord Sugar say 'You're Fired!'

Forget the preamble, let's get straight to the pointed finger. This appears to be the consensus among viewers of the new series of The Apprentice. This week hundreds of thousands tuned in only to watch the bit when Lord Sugar fires someone, rather than sit through the preceding 55 minutes.

Nick Hewer, Lord Alan Sugar, Karren Brady from this year's BBC programme, The Apprentice.

Sir Alan Sugar says 'I've not fired any Mark Zuckerbergs' as The Apprentice returns

“I’m not perfect. There are occasions I may have got it wrong,” Lord Sugar declared, in a rare display of humility. “But I haven’t seen anyone who’s become a new Branson or Zuckerberg that I’ve let go.”

Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, has warned there are “lots of abuses” of the minimum wage

Scandal of firms that dodge paying the minimum wage

Although it is supposed to be illegal to pay staff below those levels, employers are using a variety of ruses to sidestep the rates

Graeme Smith of Surrey makes his way back to the pavilion having been dismissed for two

Amid great expectations at the Oval... Graeme Smith makes just 2 on his debut innings for Surrey

South African great had kept the faithful waiting

Toni Pearce: she flunked her exams – but fought her way to the top to become President of the NUS

Toni Pearce tells Richard Garner how her background will help her fight for students

Government rejects 'freeze' calls and raises national minimum wage by nearly two per cent, with a new adult rate of £6.31

Calls from business leaders to freeze the national minimum wage were rejected today by the Government which raised its level by nearly two per cent.

Jack Thornell helped make history with his photographs

Jack Thornell: 'I was thinking my career is over. I will resign. Or be fired'

The AP photographer managed to take just one picture of James Meredith. It won him a Pulitzer

Anthony Hilton: Trading up - Michael Heseltine’s brainchild matures

Heseltine set up the forum in the 1990s to help trade associations to raise their game
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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