News The MP Louise Ellman branded the use of parking fines to raise revenue unacceptable and illegal

Councils across England have been accused of implementing “an unacceptable mass ticketing culture” after the release of figures showing that car parking charges have generated £600m of surplus profit in the past year.

Album: Boy Bear, Moonfire (V2)

The nu-folk-rock boom has now, it seems, gone global, spreading beyond its Anglo-American bases to Australia, where Boy & Bear's Moonfire has been a runaway success.

Los Angeles police officers arrest a man after a shooting

Real-life 'Minority Report' stops crime before it happens

Computer profiling allows LAPD cops to target areas where criminals may operate. Guy Adams reports.

Council parking row over 'tax on nightlife'

Drivers visiting London's West End could be forced to pay increased charges to park overnight after the local council announced plans to ban parking on stretches of road "equivalent to" nearly 1,200 parking spaces.

Can Portas save the high street?

Television retail guru Mary Portas plans to bring the community back to the high street this week in the face of another wave of retailers going into administration.

Border line: Dismantling a garage in Anna Pavord's garden meant space for a shrub border

If we hadn't pulled down the garage, I wouldn't have made the shrub border. This is the Law of Unintended Consequences. And it's how most of us go on in our gardens. Things get done in a piecemeal way. The garage was the first thing you saw when you turned into our yard and it blocked out the view beyond. From the beginning we planned to get rid of this breezeblock barrack, so the ground swept uninterrupted from the yard down to the valley below.

Women in Science: From car paint to supercomputers – the story of multitasking molecules

My research is about an old molecule, the phthalocyanine, which I started working on from day one of my PhD, 13 years ago, and am still fascinated in.

Small garages turn to alternative sources for finance

Small independent garages looking to raise short-term finance in order to fund expansion are increasingly being turned away from the high-street banks.

Simon Read: It's the year to really get a good grip on your finances

Happy new year! I trust that the hangover soon subsides but that any well-meaning resolutions you made last night last a little longer, especially if they are to do with getting your finances in order in 2011. Rest assured that we'll continue to bring you the best investment advice and money-saving tips as normal.

Sean O'Grady: Pity the poor motorist

Something quite alarming is happening to car insurance. Premiums are up 38% on last year, say the Office for National Statistics, a record high.

Questions Of Cash: 'Is car-hire company giving me the runaround?'

Q. I booked for car hire through CarTrawler for a six-day car hire in Corsica, for collection at Ajaccio airport and leaving it at Porto Vecchio. My payment included a one-way fee of €90. On arrival I was told I couldn't return it to Porto Vecchio. Instead I had to return it to Figaro airport. I had to pay a €43.50 taxi fare after dropping the car at Figaro. I asked for a refund, but this was refused. I was told that unless I paid in full I would lose my deposit and car. I was told I could make a refund claim when I got home. I've done this, but all I received was a cheque for €40. I had calculated that I was due a refund of €133.50 [£117]. RK, London.

er-50s hit by car insurance hike says survey

Motorists aged over 50 have seen a huge hike in car insurance costs over the last 12 months, it was revealed today.

Nine in 10 garages miss dangerous faults in tests

Garages are routinely failing to find basic faults and charging for bogus work, according to an investigation.

Open jaw: 'There are ways to exact revenge on passengers'

Where readers write back

FSA bans four over scam

Four people were banned by the Financial Services Authority yesterday after money collected from customers to pay for insurance premiums was used to fund the start-up of a new business.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee