News

Robber needed money for polio-stricken cousin's surgery

Letter: Class of '97

Sir: Joe Ashton MP appears to have a simplistic view of our society and its class structure and I would love to know which class he thinks I belong to.

Tip Of The Week: Check Out The Damp Patch

Most people buying a new home are told it has rising damp, and are quoted pounds 500 to pounds 3,000 for "damp-proofing" work - all with the approval of their surveyors. But the Building Research Establishment say that true rising damp is rare. Check whether you are being ripped off:

Tip Of The Week: Plumb Shelves Need A Spirit Level

Putting up a few shelves is probably the most cliched bit of home improvement, and one that most DIY-ers attempt at some time. A few simple tricks can mean all the difference between success and failure:

Firms hit by brickie shortage

BUILDING FIRMS are having more problems recruiting bricklayers than for almost a decade as a skills shortages hits the industry, a survey showed yesterday. Four out of five construction companies reported difficulties hiring brickies, the worst level since 1989.

Property: Behind every good shelf there's a plastic plug

DOCTOR ON THE HOUSE

New films: The Nazis' camp was never like this

BENT Sean Mathias (18)

Doctor On The House: Snakes and ladders: a great game for builders

Heard the one about the water that was waterproof? Jeff Howell on scams for hard times

Leading Article: Freedoms and Freemasons

PARLIAMENTARY moves to force Freemasons to declare their membership have the unusual effect of raising liberal voices in support of the Craft. To avoid any misunderstanding, we declare that the IoS is not a redoubt of Masonry. But we do believe that civil society is sustained by the associations that form the interface between individual and state. One of the shortcomings of Thatcherism was its neglect of communities. This government has shown far more awareness of the importance of networks and trust. But we must accept that even associations with which we do not readily identify have the right to prosper, so long as they pose no threat to others. This belief is not restricted to libertarians: Rosa Luxemburg, the German socialist, preached that "freedom is also the freedom of those who think differently".

In defence of Freemasonry: Yes, they pull a few (apron) strings, but is that a crime?

When Michael Higham, the Masonic bigwig, was being knocked about by MPs the other day he used a curious phrase. The Freemasons, he claimed, are a "freedom association". Masons? All that regalia, clandestine meetings, enigma wrapped in allegory, aprons, back-scratching and - without question - occasional dabbling in conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Skiing: Maier sweeps to record win

Hermann Maier won a record fourth consecutive super-giant slalom in Garmisch-Parten-kirchen yesterday while Austria made sure of the men's overall World Cup title for the first time since 1970.

Winter Olympics: Beware the Herminator

Austria's new folk hero threatens to sweep all before him as America's finest returns to her brilliant best; Andrew Longmore discovers that the long search for Klammer's successor may be over

Skiing: Masterful Maier makes it three wins in a row

The seemingly unstoppable Hermann Maier was again in a league of his own yesterday to clinch his second World Cup super-giant slalom win in two days in front of noisy home support at Schladming, Austria.

Repointed walls aren't all they're cracked up to be

DOCTOR ON THE HOUSE; Builders love replacing old mortar between bricks with new cement. But do it at your peril, warns Jeff Howell

Property: A traditional brickwork frontage has enduring appeal, so it is worth maintaining it, writes Gwenda Joyce-Brophy

It is an unlikely subject to inflame passions, but inflame them it undoubtedly does.

Weather: Fraudulent stories and flying pigs

Weather-related claims cost British insurance companies an estimated pounds 1.3bn a year, and it has been estimated that some 30 per cent of those claims are - to some degree at least - fraudulent. One company, however, specialises in gathering the data needed to assess the validity of such claims.
Sport
Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
football
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Sport
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Sport
Rodgers showered praise on Balotelli last week, which led to speculation he could sign the AC Milan front man
transfers
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
News
Lizards, such as Iguanas (pictured), have a unique pattern of tissue growth
science
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home