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Manchester’s Chorlton along with Herne Hill, Muswell Hill and Dagenham in London are some of the worst afflicted areas while Mossley Hill and Waterloo in Liverpool also feature prominently

Multiple sclerosis charity says benefits reform is creating anxiety amongst sufferers

Changes to the benefits system are forcing those in greatest need of aid to suffer, a charity has warned.

Tories win latest by-elections after swing from Labour

Tories gained from Labour in the latest local by-elections just a day after a massive slump in a London contest.

London by-election boost for Labour

Labour's London elections campaign has received a much-needed council by-election boost in a key marginal assembly constituency.

First Night: George Michael - Symphonica Tour, State Opera House, Prague

Holding back the tears, Michael restores faith in a magical voice

Howard Jacobson: What fresh hell is this? A journey by train

Have you been on a train recently?

'I wasn't able to pray. It took me years to recover'

A former nun who left her order hating God, then became a prolific theologian, has at last returned to faith – but still has no time for organised religion

Man jailed for conning £15m from investors

Fraudster spent cash from bogus hedge fund on fleet of luxury cars and antiques

Jerry Springer: The holocaust and my family

His name will always be synonymous with his TV talk show, but there's more to Jerry Springer than spoof operas and fighting dwarfs. James Rampton meets a fiercely political animal who's coming to terms with a painful family history

More For Your Money: Walthamstow Village, E17

Street market society

PsychoGeography #70: Going underground

The tube can be as packed as a sardine can, or as empty as the Gobi Desert

PsychoGeography #31: Sitting on top of the world

Two decades ago I spent three months in India. My companion was Turnbull St Asser, the last scion of a north-country dynasty of enormous antiquity (they came over with the Cro-Magnons), who had dedicated 30 generations to dissipation and dilettantism.

Wife-killing mandarin is detained

A SENIOR Treasury official who killed his wife in a hammer attack and then threw himself under the wheels of a van in a suicide attempt was yesterday committed to a mental hospital.

Radio: Is the BBC at last learning to listen?

Y ou notice them from time to time: little signs, like snowdrops, of a gradual thaw in the ice-age of Thatcherism. Esso stops charging customers for the use of its air pumps. A sort of Labour Party wins an election. And the BBC acts on a listener's suggestion sent to Feedback.

Rugby League: Finals that thrill the memory

Saturday's Rugby League Challenge Cup final will be the last at the `old' Wembley. Dave Hadfield remembers the best moments of the annual pilgrimage to London
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there