News Hundreds of schools were closed today, because of a teacher strike

Workers strike over increases to pension contributions and cuts to the size of payouts

Thousands of council and hospital workers go on strike

Thousands of council and hospital workers went on strike today in two separate disputes over terms and conditions and claims of management bullying.

Groom set fire to castle over drinks bill

A groom set fire to the country house where his wedding reception was being held after he and his bride had a row with staff over their bar bill.

Groom admits wedding night arson

A groom today admitted starting a devastating fire at the country house where his wedding reception was held.

Paul Sturrock's wholehearted approach has lifted Southend to the top of League One

Sturrock's grounded style has Southend on the rise

The Shrimpers manager tells Nick Judd how sending his players to work on building sites has helped them climb to top of the table

Stone Roses singer Ian Brown avoids driving ban

Stone Roses front man Ian Brown escaped a driving ban today after he was clocked speeding at 105mph.

Tories and Labour neck and neck in latest by-elections

Tories and Labour are running neck and neck in the latest council by-elections which saw just one seat change hands.

Micah Richards claims Manchester United are 'a bit frightened'

Micah Richards believes Manchester United are "a bit frightened" of Roberto Mancini's Manchester City ahead of this weekend's Barclays Premier League clash at Old Trafford.

Wigan's Cup hangover lets slip Shield chance to hungry Wolves

Warrington 39 Wigan 12

Riots In Brief: Armani looter jailed

A 25-year-old man who looted an Armani store during disorder that swept the nation earlier this month has been jailed for 20 months.

Deaths trigger concerns over police tasers

Concerns have been raised over the use of tasers and pepper spray by police after the deaths of three people in custody during the past eight days.

A hard day's ride

Cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats was a tough gig for Warren Howard and his band, and that's before they sang for their supper – and charity – every night as well

Three deaths in eight days spark concern over arrest methods

Concerns have been raised over extreme techniques used by police to arrest suspects after the deaths of three people in custody during the past eight days.

Inquiry launched after man dies in police custody

An inquiry has been launched by the police watchdog following the death of a man who was restrained using pepper spray.

Inquiry after restrained man dies

An investigation has been launched by the police watchdog following the death of a man who was restrained using pepper spray.

Warning follows girl's drug death

Police today warned youngsters and their parents about post-exam summer celebrations after a 16-year-old girl died of a suspected drug overdose.

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Mickey Rourke celebrates his victory against opponent Elliot Seymour
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Gordon and Tana Ramsay arrive at the High Court, London
newsTV chef gives evidence against his father-in-law in court case
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Actor Burt Reynolds last year
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Johnny Handle, Northumberland, Ted Relph, President of Lakeland Dialect Society, and Sid Calderbank, Lancashire, founder of the National Dialect Day
newsMeet the enthusiasts determined to stop them dying out
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The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
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Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
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The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game