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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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn