Once voted as the worst place to live - Hull now named UK's City of Culture 2017

Winner known for being the home of poet Philip Larkin was given dubious distinction 10 years ago

Jim Armitage: Reshuffle puts the Treasury in charge

Outlook The Coalition's view that clever financing is the way to solve our housing problems, rather than planned housebuilding programmes, was given flesh in the disappointed form of Mark Prisk, axed as housing minister in the reshuffle this week.

Japan's fury over French Fukushima ‘joke’

Japan has formally protested over a French newspaper cartoon depicting sumo wrestlers with extra limbs fighting in front of the country’s crippled nuclear power plant and linking it to Tokyo’s successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics.

Kazakh President welcomed David Cameron to Astana earlier this month

Kazakh dictator renews friendship with David Cameron

The authoritarian leader of Kazakhstan visited David Cameron in Downing Street while he was on a private trip to London with his family this week, it has emerged.

Department-by-department - the winners and losers

A comprehensive guide to spending cuts across Whitehall

Obama's digital attack dogs

Nick Clegg will announce the crackdown on immigration

Paywall UK: Nick Clegg's security bonds for immigrants attacked as 'unworkable, impractical and discriminatory'

Visitors from 'high risk' nations to be asked for deposits of £1,000 or more

Ministers should be given annual performance appraisals, says former head of civil service

Ministers should be given annual performance appraisals to see how well they are doing their jobs, a former head of the civil service said today.

How 'The Sun' jumped the gun on Harry – and vindicated his view of newspapers

"We heard this posh voice come over the radio and knew it was Big H"

Editorial: A not-so-new dawn in Japan

When Japan's Liberal Democratic Party suffered its first election defeat in more than 50 years, it was widely heralded as the end of an era. Just three years later, however, the LDP has made a spectacular comeback, more than doubling its seats in the lower house of the Diet and catapulting Shinzo Abe – the former Prime Minister who lasted just a single, shambolic year in office – back into the top job.

Death toll from Philippines typhoon reaches over 1,000

The death toll from a typhoon that devastated mountainous and coastal towns in the southern Philippines with ferocious winds and flash floods this month has risen to more than 1,000.

Peace will not break out without tough bargaining

There have times in the 22 months of the Syrian uprising when it seemed Bashar al-Assad might have been toppled – only for the rebels to falter, outgunned by his resurgent forces. But now, for the first time, there appears to be a feeling that he too will become a victim of the Arab Spring. Despite its massive superiority in weaponry, and the indiscriminate way it often uses it, the regime is ceding more and more territory to the opposition.

Branko Milinkovic died in front of his country’s diplomatic delegation

Serbia's Nato ambassador jumps to death in Brussels car-park

Branko died in front of his country's diplomatic delegation

Syrian opposition fighters overrun a military post at Ras al-Ain on Wednesday. Below, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius

Syrian rebels seek missile supply

Syrian opposition figures will push at a donor conference in London today for the provision of anti-aircraft missile systems to repel President Bashar al-Assad's devastating airstrikes, as momentum builds to adjust a European Union arms embargo.

Ousted South Africa ANC youth leader Julius Malema blames police in mine deaths

Miners and their families welcomed expelled politician Julius Malema today as he told the thousands who gathered at the site where 34 miners were killed this week that South African police had no right to fire the live bullets that killed them.

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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
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
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