News The more modern town of Salford, where the latest investment of the English Cities Fund is expected to be announced

Could Britain’s chronic housing shortage be solved by using insurers’ assets? Jamie Dunkley and Russell Lynch report

Crews face test on Costa Concordia as weather worsens

The vast wreck of the cruise ship Costa Concordia shifted on its undersea ledge today, forcing a new suspension of rescue work and threatening plans to pump oil out to prevent environmental disaster.

Ban on subletting council homes

Council tenants who sublet their homes face prosecution and possible prison terms in a blitz on abuse of social housing. High earners could also be forced to pay the market rate for continuing to live in their council homes.

Disgraced MP jailed for expenses fiddle still has Commons pass

Jim Devine, who made £8,000 in false claims, is excused court costs because he is bankrupt

Swedish wolf hunt called off over EU threat

Sweden is to stop this year's licensed hunt for wolves due to the threat of legal action from the European Union. Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren said the government decided to call off the hunt to avoid arduous legal proceedings in Brussels.

India reshuffles its reformist Environment Minister

Two years of radical reforms aimed at protecting India’s depleted environment and changing the economic and development balance came to an end today with a government reshuffle.

Video: Commons bin debate gets spicy

Shadow environment minister Jamie Reed kicks of a 'heated' debate about waste collection but we think they're a little hungry!

Land sale planned to reduce deficit

The Government is planning to sell public land worth an estimated £10bn to address a chronic housing shortage and help erode its record budget deficit. The Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, is due to announce today that all government departments with significant land banks will be asked to identify, by the autumn, land suitable for sale for homes.

Elliot Morley jailed over expenses

Elliot Morley became the first former minister to be jailed for cheating his expenses when he was sentenced to 16 months today.

Inquiry looms into nuclear fuel plant

Calls for an official inquiry into the financial evidence used to justify the construction a £1.34bn nuclear fuel plant at Sellafield in Cumbria will be treated seriously, the National Audit Office has told The Independent.

Village People: In a bind over Bercow

The plot to remove the Speaker, John Bercow, still lurks in the undergrowth in the Westminster Village. His enemies are old colleagues on the Tory side who see him as a turncoat, and for whom the last straw was that famous photograph of Sally Bercow clothed only in a sheet.

Ex-minister Elliot Morley admits biggest fiddle

Former environment minister Elliot Morley today admitted being Parliament's biggest expenses cheat.

Peer's peerless preserve

A marmalade produced by Environment Minister Lord Henley has won the top prize at the World Marmalade Awards. The Tory peer's recipe, which was originally his mother's, was named Best In Show at at the annual ceremony in Cumbria over the weekend.

Flood-defence plans are submerged by Whitehall cutbacks

Several new flood-relief schemes designed to protect thousands of properties have been put on hold, because the Environment Agency's flood-defence budget was slashed by £95m, or 27 per cent, for next year.

Extra cash to combat council house fraudsters

Councils are to get an extra £19 million to oust fraudsters who unlawfully sublet council and housing association properties, the Government said today.

End of council houses for life 'will hurt needy'

Ministers faced accusations last night of penalising the needy as they sounded the death knell for the days of an automatic council house for life.

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Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
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newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
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people'When I see people who look totally different, it brings me back to that time in my life'
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Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
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Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
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Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
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Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker