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.

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".

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

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

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

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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Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian and Noel Fielding backstage at the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts
musicKasabian and Noel Fielding attack 'boring' musicians
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videoWatch Lynda Bellingham's tragic final Loose Women appearance
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The last great picture - Winner 'Black and White' and overall 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year'
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High notes, flat performance: Jake Bugg
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Review: Despite an uphill climb to see Jake Bugg in action, his performance is notably flat

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The Putin automaton will go on sale next month in Germany
videoMusical Putin toy showing him annexing Crimea could sell for millions
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Powerful images of strays taken moments before being put down

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Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London