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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.
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Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
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Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
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Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
arts + entsBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
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Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
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View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
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environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
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Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
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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
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices