News Education Secretary Michael Gove

Ministers must try harder, declares organisation

Economy casts long shadow over local elections

Three weeks from today, Gordon Brown will face his first electoral test as Labour leader and the backdrop could hardly be more gloomy as the economic clouds darken.

National Youth Orchestra, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

The rehearsals in Nottingham are over, and for a taste of orchestral life the young musicians of the National Youth Orchestra are hitting the road from Gateshead to London. In celebration of its 60th birthday, the NYO commissioned a work from one of its alumni to open the spring programme. Threads for Orchestra is by Mark Simpson, who played principal clarinet and, remarkably, won both the BBC Young Musician of the Year and the Guardian/BBC Proms Young Composers award. After a strident brass fanfare, Simpson weaves a melody in the violins through the blank canvas of the orchestra. Chinese opera gongs and steel drums give it a weird colouring, as strands of the melody are pulled between sections in a kind of furious cross-stitching that gathers momentum towards a sudden, squealing stop. Just as Simpson, at 19, can "feel something emerging" so could the audience for, despite the piece being a fraction long, it is impressively well-structured.

Osborne: Tax cuts might be difficult

Shadow chancellor George Osborne acknowledged today that a Conservative government might find it difficult to cut taxes if it wins power at the next general election.

Tories to offer extra leave for new fathers

David Cameron has tried to outflank Labour by proposing that fathers be allowed more paid leave to look after babies if mothers want to return to work.

Short sellers take a big hit as Liberty merger talks revealed

Shares in Liberty International soared almost 10 per cent yesterday, after talks were revealed that could lead to the group merging with a major rival to create the largest shopping mall owner in the world.

Gascoigne: Turbulent life of football genius

Paul Gascoigne has featured almost as much on the front pages of newspapers for his rollercoaster private life as he has on the back pages for his sporting prowess.

Gascoigne sectioned after hotel 'incident'

Former England soccer star Paul Gascoigne has been sectioned under the Mental Health Act, sources said today. He was detained after Northumbria Police were called last night to a hotel in Gateshead.

You write the reviews: Northern Sinfonia with H K Gruber, The Sage, Gateshead

An evening with H K Gruber is unlike most concerts. Gruber, whose musical career began in the Vienna Boys Choir, has moved a long way since then, but he remains steeped in a Germanic heritage encompassing Weimar Republic cabaret, nasty tales and songs to scare children, and the fierce energy of the great classical conductors. He composes, conducts, sings and plays a variety of odd and customised instruments, including an artfully prepared plastic penny whistle and toy saxophone.

The king's new court: Norman Foster is taking on the home of America's national collection

The poet Walt Whitman described the former United States Patent Building – the scene of Abraham Lincoln's inaugural ball – as "the noblest of Washington buildings". So when Norman Foster set about renovating its courtyard – it is now the Smithsonian Institute and houses the American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery – he was determined to preserve the historical integrity of the building, while bringing the space back to life.

One in five hospital trusts found to be putting mothers and babies at risk

London is the worst place in the country to have a baby, according to the first review of maternity units in England.

Soaring commodity prices drive mining and power stocks to biggest FTSE gains

As the year draws to a close, the number of gainers in the FTSE100 far outstrips the losers

US pressured Blair into arms bribery inquiry

A bribery investigation threatening the future of 50,000 British jobs followed heavy pressure on Tony Blair from George Bush's administration, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

20 things everyone needs to know

Ever felt you were slightly lacking in the life skills department? Let's face it, there's so much to master - and so little time in which to do it. But worry no more. Expert help is at hand. From building a fire to asking for a rise, this guide means you'll never be at a loss again

Westwood enlists Big Sam to rediscover form

Desperate golfers will resort to all sorts of remedies to rediscover their game; those such as Paul McGinley join in events such as this Wales Open, while others such as Lee Westwood simply join Bolton Wanderers.

Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Career Services

Day In a Page

A
Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border