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
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
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Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
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Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
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Alexis Sanchez missed a penalty before scoring the opening goal with a header at the back post
footballLive! Sanchez makes up for penalty miss to put Arsenal ahead
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Day In a Page

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