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.

Sport
Lionel Messi pictured after reaching the final
world cup 2014
Sport
Lionel Messi and Thomas Muller have shone brightest for Argentina and Germany respectively on their way to the World Cup final
Sport
Brazilian fans watch the match for third place between Brazil and Netherlands
Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: Dutch pile on the misery in third place playoff
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel Shop See all offers »
India and Nepal
14 nights from £2,159pp Find out more
Dutch Masters
five nights from £679pp Find out more
La Robla and Rioja
nine nights from £1599pp Find out more
Classical Spain
six nights from £539pp Find out more
California and the Golden West
14 nights from £1,599pp Find out more
Bruges
three nights from £259pp Find out more
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?