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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Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines
Will Smith's children have made waves with a gloriously over-the-top interview, but will their music match their musings?

What are Jaden and Willow on about?

Will Smith's children have made waves with a gloriously over-the-top interview, but will their music match their musings?
Fridge gate: How George Osborne keeping his fridge padlocked shows a frosty side to shared spaces

Cold war

How George Osborne keeping his fridge padlocked shows a frosty side to shared spaces
Stocking fillers: 10 best loo books

Stocking fillers: 10 best loo books

From dogs in cars to online etiquette, while away a few minutes in peace with one of these humorous, original and occasionally educational tomes
Malky Mackay appointed Wigan manager: Three texts keep Scot’s rehabilitation on a knife-edge

Three texts keep Mackay’s rehabilitation on a knife-edge

New Wigan manager said all the right things - but until the FA’s verdict is delivered he is still on probation, says Ian Herbert
Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet

Louis van Gaal: the liberal, the enemy and... err, the poet

‘O, Louis’ is the plaintive title of a biography about the Dutchman. Ian Herbert looks at what it tells us about the Manchester United manager
Isis in Iraq: Baghdad hails the retaking of the Baiji oil refinery as the start of the long fightback against the Islamist militants

Isis takes a big step back

Baghdad hails the retaking of the Baiji oil refinery as the start of the long fightback against the Islamist militants
Bill Cosby: America’s beloved TV ‘dad’ or serial rapist?

Bill Cosby: America’s beloved TV ‘dad’ or serial rapist?

Ukip silk bow ties, Green Party T-shirts, and 'Iron Baby' romper suits: How to shop politically

How to shop politically

Ukip silk bow ties, Green Party T-shirts, and 'Iron Baby' romper suits
The science of sex: What happens when science meets erotica

Sex on the brain

Fetishes, dominatrixes, kinks and erotica. They are subjects that should get the crowds flocking to a new exhibition at the Wellcome Collection