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.

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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
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
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World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
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Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
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Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
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Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
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Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
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Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
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Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

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Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy