News

Berkshire hathaway has waded into the takeover battle for Transatlantic Holdings, tabling a $3.2bn bid for the reinsurer.

MacKay to step down at next general election

Tory MP Andrew MacKay announced today he would stand down at the next general election after discussing his position with Conservative leader David Cameron this morning.

Win a go-karting session!

Courtesy of the Institute of the Motor Industry, the winner of this competition will hit the road running with a driving experience voucher from Red Letter Days.

For a cosy pub serving deliciously cooked rabbit, venison and pheasant, head for the heart of west London

The Harwood Arms, 27 Walham Grove, London SW6, tel: 020 7386 1847

Reading halt loan rangers to stay on trail

Reading 1 Blackpool 0

Slough launches charm offensive to prove 'it's fit for humans now'

Slough's image as a concrete wasteland made it the butt of jokes for years. Poets have used its name as a byword for blandness and mediocrity. Now, after 71 years of slurs about its lack of joie de vivre, the beleaguered Berkshire town fights back.

Newbury: Muthabara shows her class

Dunlop's filly is co-favourite for Newmarket but Confront's Classic hopes are in tatters

Andrew Cunningham: You have to pay for a sporting chance

Why are parents prepared to pay £12,000-plus a year for private schools? In our case, the chance for our children to play lots of sport and be part of a school team. State schools are playing less sport, independents, more. It shows. Privately-educated athletes have won 60 per cent of Britain's medals at the last four Olympics. Most independent schools have proper matches each week: not only for the star players, but for B, C and even D teams in main sports such as (for boys) rugby, hockey, cricket and (girls) hockey, netball, and rounders.

The Importance of Being Earnest, Vaudeville Theatre, London

Bags of fun with Lady Penelope

Windsor wants its own postcode – not Slough's

Little did we know that the gentle folk of Windsor and Maidenhead could get so upset about two innocuous letters.

Schools add Arabic and Mandarin to curriculum

State schools in predominantly white areas are putting Arabic lessons on the curriculum for the first time as students show increasing interest in understanding the Middle East.

Letter: The truth will out

Apart from the smile and the suntan, what is the difference between Veritas and the BNP?

Letter: Mindless escapism

Sir: I wonder at those politicians who condemn Dick and Dom In Da Bungalow as irresponsible and not within the BBC's public service remit ("Morning Sickness", Review, 1 February).

Letter: Pot shots

LAST SUNDAY the gun control network was again advocating "tighter gun control" ("Hunting with guns makes a comeback", 5 December). It was misleading information from such pressure groups that persuaded Parliament to ban legally held hand guns - which had no effect on armed crime. Statistics show that less than 1 per cent of legally held handguns were used in armed crime. Nearly 18 months after the ban, criminals can easily get handguns, yet our Olympic medallists are not allowed to own or shoot even a .22 pistol in this country.

HOCKEY; Payne's cup shock with golden goal

TEDDINGTON WERE at the centre of the drama yesterday when the leading men's and women's teams had to play EHA Cup ties without their Great Britain squad players, writes Bill Colwill.

Letters: Mistimed archery

ANN WIDDECOMBE has said: "As soon as we had the allegations [about Lord Archer] we acted immediately." The Tory leadership was in possession of the allegations years ago through the author Michael Crick and the former Tory whip Sir Timothy Kitson. Presumably, in Ms Widdecombe's lexicon, "immediately" means "years later".
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all