News Lynton Crosby has told ministers to stop announcing minor policies which distract from the party's core messages

Government departments have effectively been banned from promoting initiatives that are not central to the party’s key election themes of crime, the economy, immigration and welfare

Thousands made homeless by flooding in Benin

Hundreds of thousands of people have been made homeless by flooding which hit West Africa during its annual rainy season.

Banana Republic bends Britain to its will

The high street may be a gloomy place right now, but Banana Republic is well-placed to expand. James Thompson reports

International Development: Anger as aid is linked to security

The overseas aid budget has been protected and will rise to £11.5bn by 2015. This will enable the UK to reach the UN's target of member states donating 0.7 per cent of national income in aid by 2013.

Aid 'being withheld to crush dissent'

Ethiopia is denying opposition supporters food, other aid, loans and government services in a widespread effort to suppress political dissent, according to Human Rights Watch.

BBC warns Government over free licence fee funding

The BBC Trust warned the Government today it would fight any move to force it to meet the cost of free television licences for the over-75s.

Jimmy Carter taken to hospital

Jimmy Carter, the former US president, was taken to hospital in Ohio yesterday after becoming ill while flying there, according to media reports. Mr Carter, 85, who served as president from 1977 to 1981, was on his way to Cleveland for a book-signing event.

Professor Jeffrey Sachs: It's not a question of capacity, it's a matter of priorities

There is no backlash against the Millennium Development Goals; there is no throwing up of hands. In a very cynical age, the UN draft declaration is a cynicism-free document. Important things can be done. And the goals that we set are practical and effective.

Coalition plans to link oveseas aid to security

Part of Britain's £6bn overseas aid budget could be switched to defence and anti-terrorism projects, according to a leaked government document.

Debts pushing Pakistan to the brink of ruin

The flooding crisis has weakened an economy already struggling to cope with its heavy financial burden. Omar Waraich reports from Islamabad

Government 'still has much to do' after first three months

The taxpayers' verdict on the first three months of the Government shows there is still "a lot to be done", campaigners said today.

High-street heroes: The best affordable buys for autumn

This autumn brings new shapes and a sleek, grown-up silhouette, but there's no need to spend a fortune to get the look. Harriet Walker picks the best affordable buys

Children found starving in rural Australia

Aboriginal disadvantage has not rated a mention during the Australian election campaign – there are few votes in it. But as the party leaders criss-crossed the country this week, shocking evidence emerged at a government inquiry: children in remote indigenous communities are starving.

Climate change threatens poverty fight, report warns

Climate change threatens to undo years of work to tackle poverty in developing countries, a report warned today.

Ashdown appointed 'disaster tsar'

Lord Ashdown has been made the Government's "disaster tsar", with the task of improving Britain's response to humanitarian emergencies such as the Haiti earthquake.

The Haiti earthquake six months on

Six months after enduring one of the deadliest natural disasters of the past century, the small republic of Haiti is finally showing signs of recovery.

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War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
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

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