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

£2m of aid money was used to fund Pope's visit

Nearly £2 million intended to be spent helping development in the world's poorest countries was diverted to pay for the Pope's visit to Britain. The Department for International Development gave £1.85m to the Foreign Office to help to pay for the costs of Pope Benedict's visit to England and Scotland last September.

Leading article: A broken nation's toxic import

The last thing Haiti needs right now is the return of Baby Doc, the former dictator whose rule in the Seventies and Eighties is remembered for its corruption and the brutality of his private militia, the Tonton Macouts. The people of the island, and the foreign diplomatic community, have been stunned by the unexpected return of the former playboy-despot Jean-Claude Duvalier to his Caribbean homeland for the first time since he was deposed in a coup in 1986.

Charity donations still suffering from recession

Donations to charity increased last year but still remain well below their pre-recession levels, research showed today.

Treasury urged to loosen politically driven 'ring-fenced' spending plans

Excessive, politically driven "ring-fencing" distorts government spending priorities, according to a report on the Comprehensive Spending Review published by the Treasury Committee today.

Meet the godfather of the cuts

Canada's Paul Martin eradicated his country's deficit by harsh reductions in public spending. Matt Chorley meets the coalition's inspiration

Thousands made homeless by flooding in Benin

Hundreds of thousands of people have been made homeless by flooding which hit West Africa during its annual rainy season.

Banana Republic bends Britain to its will

The high street may be a gloomy place right now, but Banana Republic is well-placed to expand. James Thompson reports

International Development: Anger as aid is linked to security

The overseas aid budget has been protected and will rise to £11.5bn by 2015. This will enable the UK to reach the UN's target of member states donating 0.7 per cent of national income in aid by 2013.

BBC warns Government over free licence fee funding

The BBC Trust warned the Government today it would fight any move to force it to meet the cost of free television licences for the over-75s.

Jimmy Carter taken to hospital

Jimmy Carter, the former US president, was taken to hospital in Ohio yesterday after becoming ill while flying there, according to media reports. Mr Carter, 85, who served as president from 1977 to 1981, was on his way to Cleveland for a book-signing event.

Coalition plans to link oveseas aid to security

Part of Britain's £6bn overseas aid budget could be switched to defence and anti-terrorism projects, according to a leaked government document.

Debts pushing Pakistan to the brink of ruin

The flooding crisis has weakened an economy already struggling to cope with its heavy financial burden. Omar Waraich reports from Islamabad

Government 'still has much to do' after first three months

The taxpayers' verdict on the first three months of the Government shows there is still "a lot to be done", campaigners said today.

High-street heroes: The best affordable buys for autumn

This autumn brings new shapes and a sleek, grown-up silhouette, but there's no need to spend a fortune to get the look. Harriet Walker picks the best affordable buys
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
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footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
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Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
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Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine