News Workers at mail-order company La Redoute protest in Lille against plans to sack 1,200 workers

3.2 million people are working so hard that they risked mental or physical breakdown, study finds

Purge on scandal of early retirers

THE BIGGEST crackdown yet on ill-health retirement among police, fire officers and teachers has been launched by the Government after figures showed that the problem was costing taxpayers pounds 1bn a year.

`Sickness' retirement crackdown

THE BIGGEST crackdown yet on ill-health retirement among police, fire officers and teachers has been launched by the Government after figures showed that the problem was costing taxpayers pounds 1bn a year.

Veteran reporter quits `Guardian'

MARTIN WALKER, a veteran foreign correspondent for The Guardian, left the paper suddenly last night after days of rumours about the running costs of the paper's office in Brussels, which the reporter had been running.

Focus: Equality - `It was like the Fifties'

When I worked for Usdaw, the shop and distributive workers' union, its membership was three-quarters female. It covered a workforce that is difficult to organise but desperately easy to exploit: mothers and older women looking for part-time work on the shop floor or conveyor belt. I joined as a graduate with little work experience and a strong belief in trade unionism, but my initial short contract stretched to six disillusioning years working in the union's national headquarters in suburban Manchester.

Letter: Children need real holidays too

MICHAEL MCMAHON'S excellent article could have mentioned the effects of the Gulagisation of education on teachers: burn-out, early retirements, - far too many good colleagues gone before their time - and the re-rating of teachers by insurance companies into the high-risk band, along with pilots and surgeons.

Obituary: Buster Merryfield

ONE OF the most loved character actors on television, Buster Merryfield played Uncle Albert, the white-haired bewhiskered Navy veteran of Only Fools and Horses who always began his stories with the phrase, "Durin' the war . . ." as he regaled Del Boy (David Jason) and Rodney (Nicholas Lyndhurst) with tales of his seagoing days. Among the most successful and acclaimed of all television sitcoms, Only Fools and Horses started in 1981, but Merryfield joined the show in the third series, when the actor playing Grandad (Lennard Pearce) died and a new character was needed to maintain a triangle of central characters.

Wanted: some good old friends for a matey reunion

This is not the whinge of a Norman No-mates - friends have even been to QPR matches with me

'The mothers of Tiananmen' challenge China for the truth

ON FRIDAY 62-year-old Zhang Xianling and her husband will head for the Wanan cemetery on the western outskirts of Peking. In front of the casket holding the ashes of their son, Wang Nan, they will place a single red rose, just as they have on this day every year for the past decade.

Letter: Short of midwives

Sir: My first thought on reading your headline "Crisis in obstetrics looming, says NHS" (7 May) was that at last the shortage of midwives was about to be addressed by Mr Taylor, NHS director of personnel. I was wrong, as Mr Taylor believes that the threat to the safety of women in childbirth comes from a shortage of obstetricians.

Football: Zola considers early retirement

GIANFRANCO ZOLA may retire at the end of next season, he announced yesterday.

Letter: Ofsted must do better

MICHAEL MCMAHON has justifiably had enough of inner-city schooling. My 14-year-old son has two years to go at our local high school, which is still reeling from a recent harsh and unfair Ofsted report. Described as a vindictive piece of writing by parents and teachers alike, the report resulted in the loss of an enthusiastic, experienced and dedicated headteacher, and months of uncertainty for staff, pupils and parents, which is not over yet.

`Incompetent' state lawyers to be sacked

DOZENS OF state lawyers are incompetent and are letting the public down by their failure to prosecute criminals, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) said yesterday.

Power firms flout pension ruling

TWO OF the country's biggest electricity companies have decided to keep pounds 600m owing to their occupational pension schemes, even though the Court of Appeal ruled last month that they had acted unlawfully in using the money to fund post-privatisation redundancy schemes.

Education Letter: Old'ums are golden

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Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

How Etsy became a crafty little earner

The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

Don't fear the artichoke

Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
11 best men's socks

11 best men's socks

Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

Paul Scholes column

Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

Frank Warren's Ringside

Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

Khorasan is back in Syria

America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

On the campaign trail with Ukip

Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

Expect a rush on men's tights

Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions
Peter Kay's Car Share: BBC show is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade

In the driving seat: Peter Kay

Car Share is the comedian's first TV sitcom in a decade. The programme's co-creator Paul Coleman reveals the challenges of getting the show on the road