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A measure in George Osborne’s 2013 Budget which made no headlines outside the financial pages was the abolition of stamp duty reserve tax on UK-domiciled asset management funds. That may not sound like an attention grabber, but it was manna for Britain’s hedge-fund bosses, who by the Government’s estimate saw £145m drop off their companies’ collective annual tax bill.

Hospice awarded patient's payout

A hospice has been awarded a payout in a landmark claim over the death of one of its patients from asbestos-related lung cancer.

Heathland: A burning issue

When Thursley Common caught fire four years ago, its rare flora and fauna seemed doomed. But, as Michael McCarthy found out, the heathland is rising from the ashes

Raymond Barker: I've been detecting for years and never found a good hoard

Every time I read that somebody has found a good hoard I'm pleased because it adds to our knowledge and the history of Britain but, like all detectors, I mainly feel envious.

Lord Walker: Durable left-of-centre Conservative politician who served in government under Heath and Thatcher

Peter Walker was one of the great survivors of the Conservative Party, spanning the Heath and Thatcher eras. At the time of his voluntary retirement in 1990, a few months before Thatcher's downfall, no 20th century politician, apart from Churchill and Lloyd George, had served longer in Cabinets and Shadow Cabinets, and it was appropriate that he should call his memoirs Staying Power. Though he never held one of the "great" offices of state, the variety of posts that he did fill, and the timing of them, ensured that he made significant contributions to British public life, proving a minister of considerable executive efficiency. Political durability was not his only claim to fame. His earlier role as a successful city financier, particularly with Jim Slater, would alone have ensured him the attention of serious commentators.

Life term for mother who kicked her toddler son to death

A mother was jailed for life today for punching and kicking her toddler son to death.

Family Britain 1951-57, By David Kynaston

In the second great wedge of his massive social history projected to run from 1947-79, Kynaston tells the story of Britain slowly emerging from post-war austerity. By seamlessly weaving myriad sources, he produces a gripping narrative. The six-year-old Ian Jack encouraged by his father to return the smile of the first black man he ever saw (on the Piccadilly line in 1951) leads to a chain of reminiscence on "the kindness of strangers" that includes Joe Orton's diary entries on moving into the flat of his fatal lover Kenneth Halliwell ("17 June Well! 18 June Well!! 19 June Well!!!") and Jeffrey Barnard receiving cigarettes, money and a sandwich from passers-by while being hauled across King's Cross in handcuffs after going AWOL from National Service.

DNA from dog helps to jail gunman

A man responsible for a carjacking at gunpoint was jailed thanks to crucial DNA from his pet dog, police said yesterday.

Husband in court over car blast 'attempted murder'

The husband of a pregnant woman is due in court today charged with her attempted murder and that of her eight-year-old son after a car blast in a village.

Man charged with trying to kill wife in blast

A man has been charged with the attempted murder of his pregnant wife after a car blast in a Kent village.

Police get more time to quiz car blast suspect

Detectives have been granted more time to quiz a man on suspicion of attempting to murder his pregnant wife after she was seriously injured in a car blast.

Police quiz 'killer' named on roadside sign

Police have traced a man named as the alleged killer of a schoolgirl on a handwritten cardboard sign left at a roadside memorial 17 years after her death.

Experts fear count will reveal a deadly winter for birds

Big Garden Birdwatch likely to expose extent of cold-weather cull of small species

Snooker: Carter sees off Davis challenge

Defending champion Ali Carter eased into the second round of the totesport.com Welsh Open last night with a 5-1 win over Mark Davis at the Newport Centre.

Emergency declared for Britain's wildlife

Britain is facing a winter wildlife emergency, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said yesterday, as the longest period of freezing weather for nearly 28 years looks set to continue for at least another week.

Inside Lines: Why little Zoe needs support to take weight off her mind

Tiny teenage weightlifter Zoe Smith continues to demonstrate that she is likely to be one of Britain's star turns in 2012, setting new records -now in excess of 200 - almost every time she heaves more than her own body weight above her head. The winsome Kent schoolgirl, 15, has had her funding suspended by governing body World Class Lifting after a dispute over her coaching programme – she is currently mentored by her personal coach Andy Callard while WCL apparently would like her to be under their supervision in Leeds. But Smith's parents understandably do not wish her schooling to be disrupted and she has made phenomenal progress with Callard in Dartford. The funding body, UK Sport, emphasise that the decision has been taken not by them but WCL "who want her to take the same route as other athletes on their programme". They add: "We do not have a say in what they do but we will be happy to be involved in any discussions to help resolve this as she could be one of our successes in 2012." However, since we raised the issue with UK Sport, there seems to have been a softening of attitudes by WCL, who have been in touch with Callard, and a solution seems possible. This would be good news for Zoe and a sport which hasn't covered itself in Olympic gold dust. Zoe, who can rectify that, is too precious a talent to be weighed down by politics.

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