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

Former MPs on trial over 'false claims on expenses'

Elliott Morley, a former environment minister, faces trial today in the first criminal case arising from MPs' expenses. It is thought to be the first time for several centuries that an MP has faced a criminal trial over his dealings with Parliament. Two other former Labour MPs, David Chaytor and Jim Devine, also faces charges. All three deny theft by false accounting.

The Hedwig effect: Harry Potter blamed for endangering owls

In the years since he was a callow pupil at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry Potter and his associated world have known no shortage of controversy.

Vedanta revises production plan

Vedanta Resources confirmed yesterday that it has postponed its planned aluminium expansion after it was denied a licence to mine bauxite by the Indian government in August.

Indian courts close Vedanta copper smelter

Vedanta Resources, the Indian mining company that in recent years has been widely condemned for its human rights and environmental record, suffered another blow yesterday when the high court in Madras ordered a subsidiary of the group to close the world's ninth-biggest copper smelter on environmental grounds.

Seven elephants killed in India by speeding train

India's environment minister pressed railway authorities today to ensure the safety of elephants after seven pachyderms were mowed down by a speeding train in eastern India.

James Moore: Celebrity campaigners are right about Vedanta but battle is not yet won

Outlook So score one for the good guys? Vedanta – or perhaps "the world's most hated company" – suffered a reverse yesterday after its much-criticised plans to mine bauxite on sacred tribal land in the province of Orissa in eastern India were shot down by the country's environment ministry.

New Zealand politician defends blue movie claim

Former government ministers used their official credit cards to buy pornographic films, Bollinger champagne and flowers and even charter an aircraft.

Government scraps private landlord regulation plans

Plans for new regulation of private landlords are being scrapped, housing minister Grant Shapps said today.

Outside the Box: Shorts cited as Bury fail to bring home bacon with black pudding

As excuses go, Bury's reason for dropping two vital home points in a 1-1 draw with Port Vale last weekend was – like the team in League Two – right up there.

Leading article: The hunt for MPs

The news, which we report today, that hunt supporters plan to mobilise supporters in the election campaign to unseat Labour friends of foxes, conjures up a fascinating image of men in Barbours, brandishing whips and tally ho-ing through various towns and villages in hot pursuit of the 140 MPs on their electoral hit list.

Fury as housing minister John Healey says loss of home can be 'best thing'

The housing minister provoked fury yesterday after he suggested that the "best thing" for some struggling families would be to have their homes repossessed.

Great British Weather Disasters, By Philip Eden

The recent cold snap may have been unusual, but this book reminds us that very few meteorological surprises merit the cliché "unprecedented". In January 1881, heavy snow combined with one of the strongest gales on record to kill approximately 600 in London.

Families given better access to council houses

Councils were today given more flexibility in how they allocate social housing, enabling them to prioritise families with local connections.

Jay Merrick: Design, schools and pure humbug

Construction, profitability and poor design mark academy schools
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before