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

Two schools shut in protest over academies

Two schools were shut yesterday as teachers' leaders escalated their strike action against proposals to set up new privately sponsored academies.

Standing up for the gypsies

The largest illegal travellers' camp in Britain has found a divine ally in its survival battle. Jerome Taylor reports

Child's hospital death probed in sabotage scare

Essex police are investigating the death of a three-year-old in hospital amid fears that intravenous fluid bags had been sabotaged, it was reported today.

Workers stage sit-in after shock redundancies

Angry workers were staging sit- ins at three car parts plants yesterday after suddenly being told that they had all lost their jobs.

Basildon Peta: Susan Tsvangirai - An ordinary woman with extraordinary charm

What I most admired about Susan Tsvangirai was that she knew that the success of your family was dependent on the success of your country. She never moaned about what life was like for her and her children and the risks that came from living with Robert Mugabe's nemesis. It was always about the children of Zimbabwe. It was a typical caring and motherly attitude that Zimbabwe had always wanted from its First Lady but never got.

Zimbabwe: A beautiful land in need of a change of fortune

Visitors once flocked to Zimbabwe, but abhorrence for President Mugabe's regime has all but destroyed tourism in the country. When will the tourists be tempted back?

Steve Richards: At last, some healthy rows in cabinet

With the surfacing of differences within Government, normal politics has returned

Basildon Peta: Today is a monumental tragedy, the prostitution of democracy

It was a joyous moment for some, but I saw no reason of joining in any of the celebratory parties.

Court defeat spells eviction for travellers

Hundreds of travellers, many with small children, were left "desperate" and dismayed today after being told they face being moved forcibly from their homes after a ruling by the Court of Appeal.

Basildon Peta: It should be the tipping point for the tyrant – but this is Zimbabwe

Until it happened, the sight of Robert Mugabe's loyal soldiers rampaging against his regime was unthinkable. So surely their unprecedented actions ought to be the tipping point for the 84-year-old tyrant. But in the weird world that cynics call Mugabeland, things are never straight forward.

My secret life: Jo Wood, Businesswoman & former model, 53

The home I grew up in ... was a council house in Basildon, Essex, until I was nine. Then we moved into an old vicarage my dad had bought that was in serious need of renovation; we stayed there until I was 16. It was wonderful: 300 years old and full of character.

Basildon Peta: Call this progress? Not if you care about Zimbabwe

I am desperately homesick after six years of exile from Zimbabwe. Yet yesterday's power-sharing deal between Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara has not brought me any relief that I can re-enter a new democratic country in which the rights of citizens are respected.

Basildon Peta: No, Tsvangirai was not right to pull out

Mugabe could not have won even a rigged election

Nigel Morris: A result that puts Cameron on course for Downing Street

The Tories claimed early today that they were on course to evict Gordon Brown from power after they won a steady series of local election victories across England.

Basildon Peta: Mass protests are needed to force Mugabe’s hand

Will he or won't he? It has been nearly a week since the polls closed, and still no word from Robert Mugabe on when he will begin his journey into political oblivion.

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