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.
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Sport
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
football
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
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newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
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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
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears