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
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Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee