Arts and Entertainment

Lincoln Durham, "Exodus of the Deemed Unrighteous" (Droog)

Renwick: Rode new year treble

Renwick revives with a little help from his friends in North

As first-footings go, three winners at Catterick on New Year's Day was the most cheering of thresholds for one of the unluckiest jockeys of 2011. Last June, Wilson Renwick was concussed in a fall at Hexham. By the time he returned, his principal patron had reacted to a four-year disqualification – on various welfare charges – by retiring altogether. Luckily, as things turned out, auld acquaintance would not be forgotten.

Michael Atherton held licences for six weapons

Police seized guns from triple murderer – then gave them back

Durham police under scrutiny for decision after family member raised concerns

Peterlee gunman held firearms licence

A man who shot himself after killing three women on New Year's Day was a licensed holder of firearms, it has emerged.

Durham County Council condemned over bin contract

A council has been criticised for awarding a multi-million-pound wheelie bin contract to a German firm despite a British company coming in with a quote which was £250,000 cheaper.

The Quality of Mercy, By Barry Unsworth

In 1992, Barry Unsworth's fast-flowing epic of the slave trade and resistance to it, Sacred Hunger, jointly won the Booker Prize. It has taken almost 20 years for a sequel to sail into port from Britain's master-builder of historical fiction. The Quality of Mercy acts as coda and retrospect for the earlier story, at the same time as it sets a new course. Although the book can stand alone, a prior reading of Sacred Hunger will sharpen your appreciation.

Police lawfully killed crossbow man

A man who fired crossbow bolts at police was lawfully killed by a firearms officer who shot him, an inquest jury found today.

Office evacuated over powder

A Student Loans Company office was evacuated after a member of staff opened an envelope and white powder came out.

Student Loans office evacuated

Police have launched an inquiry after a Student Loans Company office had to be evacuated when a member of staff opened an envelope and white powder came out.

Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes 'overwhelmed' by England call-up

Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes admits getting picked for England has been "overwhelming".

North braced for floods

The north of England was braced for serious damage last night as heavy and intense rain caused localised flooding, blocked drains and prompted hundreds of calls to emergency services.

Pub ban for town's mayor

A mayor has been banned from almost every pub in his town after a long-running row with a landlord.

Women given ancient guild privileges

Ancient privileges reserved for the freemen of the City of Durham were granted to women yesterday.

Sound It Out: Teesside's own spin city

Record Store Day, the annual event to promote independent music-retail, has been going from strength to strength. This year it boasts its own official film, an affectionate tribute to the workings of one such institution and the characters that frequent it.

Corus sale saves hundreds of jobs

Hundreds of jobs have been secured after SSI, Thailand's biggest steel maker, finally sealed a deal to buy the Corus Teesside Cast Products (TCP) site in Redcar. The pact between SSI and Corus's parent, Tata Steel, values the business at $469m (£291m).

'Assault' contributed to boy's suicide

Controversial restraining techniques were partially responsible for the death of a 14-year-old boy who killed himself in a young person's correctional facility after a row with staff.

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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
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
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there