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Letters: Balmoral embarrassment

The Balmoral embarrassment highlights the sins of the mighty

Slump in housebuilding since start of year

Government plans for meeting the national housing shortage with the construction of 240,000 homes each year until 2016 were dealt another blow yesterday by figures showing a construction slump in the first three months of the year.

Leading article: The good, the bad and the gimmicky

The new proposals announced by the Prime Minister yesterday in the Government's draft Queen's Speech were the usual New Labour-style mix of the good, the bad and the gimmicky. One of the good ideas was reform of banking regulations. The run on Northern Rock last autumn demonstrated the pressing need for more solid guarantees of ordinary depositors' savings to mitigate outbreaks of panic in the retail banking sector.

Janet Street-Porter: We're ready to rise up against eco-towns

Without being cruel, it's a worry that the Housing minister, Caroline Flint – the woman put in charge of dumping 10 new eco-towns all over rural England – can't even sort out her notes for a Cabinet meeting so they aren't visible to the press.

The spectre of 'stagflation'

It was the curse of the 1970s – rampant inflation and stagnant economic growth. Now there are fears that Britain could once again be haunted by the spectre of 'stagflation'

Brown offers debt advice and affordable housing

The Prime Minister is planning to extend shared equity schemes to make home-owning more affordable for first-time buyers as part of a range of measures aimed at helping those hit by the credit crunch.

Construction slump wrecks plan to boost supply of new homes

The Government's plans to ease the UK's housing shortage by building some two million new homes by 2016 were close to collapse last night, as official figures revealed that private and public housing starts slumped in the first quarter of this year.

Terence Blacker: Weren't computers meant to liberate us?

Of the publication of silly surveys there is no end. To help us make sense of an increasingly frantic and fragmented world, publicity-minded academics and marketing experts eagerly supply a daily diet of research documents and studies, usually with some statistics to lend an air of fake seriousness to the whole thing. They rarely amount to anything more than one of those mildly interesting, well-I-never stories on a quiet news day.

Darling embarrassed as Northern Rock fails to pass on rate cut

Gordon Brown sought yesterday to convince voters he is not out of touch and that he understands their anxiety about the gathering economic gloom.

The Sketch: Gordon brings no respect to Parliament with gimmicks

At the end of the year's second term, let's consider whether Gordon Brown's promises to give greater respect, weight, significance to Parliament have delivered.

Plan to build 'green' homes on pristine downland rejected

A bid by a giant insurance company to build a controversial "ecotown" in unspoilt Hampshire countryside has failed.

Johann Hari: I like to be informed – but TV's not helping

It's easy to forget as we bullet down the information super-highway, but 67 per cent of British people still get "most" or "all" of their news from the old-fangled flashing box in the corner of the living room. (And kitchen, and bedroom, and kids' bedrooms, and... hey! Put down the remote and listen to me.) But something sad is happening on that box. Politics – the democratic debate that determines our fate – is slowly, steadily disappearing, or being rendered ever-more useless. Where the top-ranking politics shows used to be, there is now a message: We're sorry if your picture has been disrupted. Normal service will not resume, ever.

Editor-At-Large: Women are rarely welcome in the police chaps' club

Machismo is still the norm in the force, as Michael Todd's case shows. Even in trouble, he was still 'one of the boys'

Janet Street-Porter: But would you want to live in an eco-town?

Soon the majority of the world's population will be living in towns and cities rather than the countryside, according to a new United Nations report.

Britain's year zero: UK to leap from 'laggard to leader' on carbon dioxide emissions

All new buildings will have to be pollution free, according to a government target to be unveiled this week. As only a handful fit the bill today, there's a long way to go. Geoffrey Lean reports
Life and Style
A nearly completed RoboThespian robot inside the Engineered Arts workshop is tested in Penryn, England. The Cornish company, operating from an industrial unit near Falmouth, is the world's only maker of commercially available life sized humanoid robots
techSuper-intelligent robots could decide destroying the human race is the kindest thing to do
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The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
food + drinkTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
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techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
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Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
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scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
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newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
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Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
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Extras
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Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
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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
All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition