News Education Secretary Michael Gove

Ministers must try harder, declares organisation

Leeds annex Hall in deal until 2011

Ryan Hall has been rewarded for his contribution to Leeds' success last season with a new three-year contract. The winger came back after a broken foot to score a spectacular kick-and-chase try in the Grand Final victory over St Helens. Now the 21-year-old has been given a new deal that will keep him at Headingley until after the 2011 season.

Policewoman in court on misconduct charge

A police officer allegedly caught advertising herself on an escort website made her first appearance before a Crown Court judge today charged with misconduct in a public office.

Eight councils rated as inadequate for children

The number of councils rated "inadequate" for the provision of children's services has risen sharply in the past year, according to Ofsted.

Skellig, Sage, Gateshead

Given that Skellig appears to be a smelly old tramp with an appetite for dead mice and decayed bluebottles, it's a relief that the new opera Skellig, commissioned by the Sage at Gateshead, doesn't go in for scratch-and-sniff technology. Even without the chance to experience that particular unattractive aspect of Skellig – a grouchy, winged creature whom young Michael finds and befriends – there is more than enough to engage listeners of all ages in this surprisingly successful children's opera.

Getting off at Gateshead, By Jonathon Green

Hail to the professor of profanity

Purple haze: Aubergine at the Compleat Angler

The Compleat Angler is one of those hotels (and book titles) that seem the quintessence of Englishness. It fills your head with thoughts of Henley Regatta and Ascot Races, Eton and Oxford, Izaak Walton and J R Hartley and whoever it was that wrote, "Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song". The hotel is 400 years old and sits perched on the riverside where, in summer, white cabin-cruisers disgorge well-heeled Home Counties couples to sit at the front lawn's white tables and chat the afternoon away. It's here that William Drabble has brought the décor and kitchen skills from Aubergine, the Fulham restaurant where Gordon Ramsay first made his name, and which won Drabble a Michelin star in 1998.

David Ashdown's sports picture diary: The Great North Run

David Ashdown was in Newcastle for The Great North Run this weekend - where he received a reminder that local knowledge is essential in the world of sport photography.

Crusaders seek champion finish

There might be only pride and prestige to play for when Salford and the Celtic Crusaders meet in the National League 1 Grand Final at Warrington tomorrow, but that could be enough to ensure a gripping contest.

Winning run is halted as Miller and Greaves come up short

Great Britain's gold rush came to a halt here yesterday as throwers Daniel Greaves and Stephen Miller were unsuccessful in the defence of their Paralympic titles. Having surpassed UK Sport's pre-Games target by moving to 41 golds on day eight, silver was the order of the day as Miller and swimmers Jim Anderson, Robert Welbourn and Fran Williamson finished second, while Greaves and Natalie Jones, in the pool, won bronze.

Donnachadh McCarthy: Wheelie bins are a design blight on our towns

The Home Ecologist: 'Eliminating waste in the first place, and living a low-waste lifestyle, can be very satisfying'

You write the reviews: Sinead O'Connor, Sage, Gateshead

In the impressive setting of the Sage music centre in Gateshead, Sinead O'Connor enthralled the audience at this show with the power and passion of her voice. This was a rare UK performance from the Irish singer as part of a summer tour of European venues, accompanied only by the acoustic guitarist Steve Cooney and the keyboard player Kieran Kiely.

Preview: Excellent!, Sadler's Wells, London

An excellent adventure for young talent

Kapoor's 'Giants' to be the world's biggest public artwork

A decade ago, Antony Gormley's 65ft sculpture, Angel of the North, was credited with placing Gateshead on the artistic map of Britain and starting a trend for large-scale public artworks nicknamed the "Gormley effect".

Crumbling English landmarks are left 'in peril'

Neglectful owners of historic landmarks risk being named and shamed by English Heritage, which has placed one fifth of all the nation's monuments and battlefields on a register of threatened structures and warned that they are in danger of being lost.

The Sketch: Incapability Brown lost in translation. Again

It wasn't clear if they – government members after PMQs – were joking or not. "Things can only get bitter," one said. "Our core vote is 17 per cent," said another. "I thought it was one of his better performances," a minister of state topped them all.

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The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
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Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
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Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
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Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
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The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links