News Lynton Crosby has told ministers to stop announcing minor policies which distract from the party's core messages

Government departments have effectively been banned from promoting initiatives that are not central to the party’s key election themes of crime, the economy, immigration and welfare

The Defence Secretary, Education Secretary, and Home Secretary, are among senior Tories arguing for another squeeze on welfare

Tensions rise as ministers press for deeper cuts to welfare

Conservative Cabinet ministers are pressing for another round of cuts in the welfare budget in an attempt to protect their own departments from the Treasury’s demand for a further £10bn of savings.

An injured Kachin Independence Army soldier is treated on Hka Ya mountain yesterday

Burmese army broke ceasefire agreed by President, say rebels

Burmese troops attacked rebel positions in north-east Kachin yesterday despite a ceasefire order from the President and an invitation to the insurgents to take part in peace talks.

Michael Appleton

Roy Hodgson advised Michael Appleton to take 'disaster shipwreck' job at Blackburn

England manager had a stint at Ewood Park

Gives overseas aid to MoD and BBC, says think-tank

A third of the money the Government spends on overseas aid should be diverted to the military budget so that Britain’s armed forces can respond better to natural catastrophes like earthquakes and tsunamis, a right-wing policy institute argues.

Death toll from Philippines typhoon reaches over 1,000

The death toll from a typhoon that devastated mountainous and coastal towns in the southern Philippines with ferocious winds and flash floods this month has risen to more than 1,000.

George Osborne goes for growth (by firing 10,000 civil servants)

Chancellor warns he will squeeze departmental budgets so he can find £5bn to boost economy

Editorial: Less aid to India must mean more sent elsewhere

Justine Greening is supposed to have told the Prime Minister, when he made her Secretary of State for International Development in September: "I didn't come into politics to distribute money to people in the Third World."

Andrew Mitchell who, before resigning last week for

Andrew Mitchell denies 'rogue minister' accusation after controversially approving £16 million Rwanda aid package on last day as International Development Secretary

The former International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell today denied he acted as a “rogue minister” when he controversially approved £16 million in aid for Rwanda on his last day in the job.

Profile: Andrew 'Thrasher' Mitchell the ruthless disciplinarian

In the end Andrew Mitchell simply had too many enemies and too few friends to survive.

Editorial: A speech to rally the Tory party (un)faithful

Mr Cameron deserves to be commended for his efforts to lead the Conservatives from the front

People help each other across a flooded section of a road in Port-au-Prince

Tropical Storm Isaac clears Haiti and heads for Cuba and Florida

Tropical Storm Isaac swept across Haiti's southern peninsula early today, dousing a capital city prone to flooding and areas of the poor nation still trying to recover from the terrible 2010 earthquake.

An Iranian resident from the village of Baje-Baj, near the town of Varzaqan, stands on top of the rubble of his destroyed home

Iran appeals for foreign aid after earthquake

Iran has appealed for foreign help to deal with the aftermath of the deadly twin earthquakes that hit it last weekend after initially claiming it was not needed.

There is no single answer to world hunger, says David Cameron

David Cameron today spoke of his hopes for a summit to tackle hunger, but admitted: “There's no one single answer to this.”

Gordon Brown becomes education envoy for UN

Gordon Brown is to become the United Nations' special envoy for education, furthering his long-standing aim to ensure that all the world's children get the chance to go to school.

International donors pledge over £10bn in development aid for Afghanistan

International donors pledged more than £10 billion today in badly-needed development aid for Afghanistan over the next four years when most foreign troops will leave, as President Hamid Karzai urged the international community not to abandon his country.

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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game