News The scene outside Shenfield station this morning, after a 44-year-old City worker was shot in the leg on his way into London

Police are appealing for witnesses after a balaclava-wearing gunman fled from the scene

'Good' hospitals failing safety standards

A dozen hospitals are "significantly underperforming" basic safety measures despite nine of them being rated good or excellent by the official health regulator, a report said today, sparking a fierce argument over the accuracy of inspection regimes.

Chairman fired as another NHS trust is censured

Up to eight more hospitals under investigation after damning report reveals unacceptable death rate at Colchester hospital

Leading article: A healthy increase in transparency

This is proving to be an annus horribilis for the NHS. First Stafford, then Basildon, now Colchester – all elite foundation hospitals found to be failing and putting patients at risk, costing hundreds of lives. The negative headlines that had dramatically diminished during the golden years of Labour's NHS spending bonanza are back: "Failing hospital", "shocking death toll", "wards of shame".

How can we choose a hospital if the ratings prove to be so wrong?

Jeremy Laurance explains the far-reaching consequences of yesterday's damning appraisal of Basildon NHS Trust

Shocking death toll at flagship hospital

October: NHS trust is rated 'good' in glowing report by watchdog <br />Now: Catalogue of failings in care and hygiene is revealed

Txting: The gr8 db8, By David Crystal

The prolific populariser of linguistics David Crystal strikes again, this time with a readable and informative account of the phenomenon of texting. And what a phenomenon it is: a decade ago, texting was virtually unknown; by 2010 some 2.4 trillion texts will be sent globally.

Give your seal of approval to the royal county

British breaks - Berkshire

Basildon Peta: Our nation will be changed forever

England's qualification to the World Cup may have been celebrated at Wembley, but not everyone in South Africa agrees. Take my friend Morne Piennar.

Abattoir to pay &pound;33,000 for pollution

An abattoir which supplies meat to high street stores was ordered to pay more than £33,000 today for pumping too much waste into a waterway.

Phil King: Who says blondes have more fun?

Okay, so realistically the audiences for Denise van Outen's one-woman musical Basildon Blonde will beat my show Killing Alan for audience numbers, revenue and will be more heavily Googled.

Essex patient becomes the first 'healthy' Briton to die of swine flu

Victim had no underlying medical problems

Pupil power: How children are joining adults to fight academies

Some academies are doing well, but parents, pupils and unions are fighting their introduction &ndash; with suprising success. But are ministers helping them enough?

Visteon files for bankruptcy protection in the US

Visteon Corp today filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for its operations in the US, less than two months after putting its UK operation into administration.

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
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Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
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The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
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Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

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Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
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A Bible for billionaires

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Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
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Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
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The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

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We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

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The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

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