News Dr Andrew Davis claims rival camps in the debate over how to teach children to read are acting like 'religious fundamentalists'

Children who are fluent readers are being damaged by the Government’s insistence on using synthetic phonics in the classroom, a leading academic warns today.

Man charged over £2m Durham University museum theft

A 35-year-old man has been charged with conspiracy to commit burglary by police investigating the theft of Chinese artefacts worth more than £2 million in a raid on a university museum.

Still no sign of eight-year-old boy after river plunge, hopes 'fading'

Police scouring a swollen river for a missing eight-year-old boy said hopes of finding him alive were "fading" as the operation stretched into a fourth day.

Police name River Wear fall boy

An eight-year-old boy believed to have fallen into a rain-swollen river while playing with friends has been named by police.

Call for 600m fracking limit

Controversial "fracking" for shale gas should only take place at least 600 metres down from aquifers used for water supplies, scientists said today.

GRAHAM ONIONS: The Durham paceman took 10 wickets for the first time in his career

Rain comes to the rescue for Middlesex as Durham settle for the draw

Middlesex 188 & 179 Durham 238 & 82-6 (Match drawn)

Lean times: Andrew Strauss was dismissed cheaply for a second time at Lord's

Strauss is still to show he knows his Onions

Middlesex 188 & 21-1 Durham 238 (Durham lead by 29 runs)

Imprisonment 'sees drug use begin'

One in eight prisoners developed a drug problem after being locked up in jail, inspectors said today.

£9m keeps oldest book in Europe

A seventh-century book that lay buried in a saint's coffin for hundreds of years has been saved for the nation.

Rikki Clarke helps Warwickshire to a handy first-innings lead over Somerset

Round-up: Second failure means Patel may be frozen out

It is all very well being sent to the shires to make some runs, but when the month you have been given to rebuild your claim to an England place is April you might argue that the playing field is not exactly level.

£2m stolen from museum in daring 60-second raid

Police were last night hunting two men wanted in connection with a daring museum raid in which Chinese treasures worth £2m were stolen in less than a minute.

£2m raid took just 2 minutes

Thieves who broke into a museum to steal Chinese treasures worth £2m were in and out in less than two minutes, according to police.

Two men named over £2m museum raid

Police released photographs tonight of two men wanted in connection with a well-planned raid on a museum in which treasures worth more than £2 million were stolen.

Rory Hamilton-Brown in front of a painting showing previous Surrey captains at The Oval

London calling to reclaim the County title

Northern sides have ruled the roost for a decade but Surrey and Middlesex are well placed to challenge in the County Championship, which starts today

Johnson joins Durham for t20

Durham yesterday confirmed that the Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson will be their second overseas player for the Friends Life t20, which takes place in June and July. The 30-year-old said: "I've heard brilliant things about Durham from Paul Collingwood when he played over in Perth."

Scott, described by the judge as 'a fantasist', outside court in 2010

Raymond Scott: Shakespeare thief

Raymond Scott, who died on 14 March, was a flamboyant antiques dealer who was jailed for handling a stolen first edition of Shakespeare's plays. Scott, who passed himself off as a wealthy playboy before his conviction, was pronounced dead after being found unconscious in his cell at Northumnberland Prison, where he was serving an eight-year sentence.

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Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own