News Flooded fields around the River Tone seen from Windmill Hill, Somerset

… and the Met Office warns there is still more rain to come

The two servicemen are thought to have died in a challenging training regime near the Storey Arms Centre in Brecon Beacons, amid some of the hottest weather of 2013 with temperatures as high as 29.5C

Brecon Beacons deaths: One of the TA servicemen who died 'from heat exhaustion' on hottest day of year during training exercise has been named by MoD

Lance Corporal Craig Roberts’s death is confirmed as a third serviceman remains in hospital

Chancellor George Osborne

George Osborne will be forced to cut NHS and pension budgets, think tank warns

Chancellor George Osborne will be forced to abandon the Government ring fence-around the NHS and pension budgets and further cut public spending if he is to keep pledge not to raise taxes after the 2015 election, a leading think tank has said.

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi shout slogans and clash with riot police

'This will lead us back to square one': Muslim Brotherhood rejects plans for Egypt elections laid out by interim president Adly Mansour

Senior officials from Egypt’s ousted Muslim Brotherhood party have formally rejected plans laid out by interim president Adly Mansour for fresh elections next year.

Premiership backs proposal for globally integrated rugby season

IRPA proposals given approval

One million homes for rent needed by 2021

Almost a million affordable rental homes are needed by 2021 if England is to stave off a homelessness crisis, a study from Cambridge University has found.

Kay Mellor threatens boycott of Royal Television Society awards and offers to return lifetime achievement accolade

Top screenwriter Kay Mellor has offered to return a lifetime achievement award to the Royal Television Society after being snubbed at its Yorkshire awards ceremony for the second year in a row.

The actress Tilda Swinton has posed on Red Square with a rainbow flag in an act of support for Russia’s beleaguered gay community

Russia a regime of 'scumbags', says opposition leader

Russia’s most prominent opposition leader described the country’s government as a regime of “scumbags” today in impassioned final words to a provincial court that could jail him for up to six years.

‘I am old and sick’: Belgian King Albert II to abdicate in favour of son Prince Philippe

Belgium’s 79-year-old King Albert has announced that he would abdicate in favour of his son, Prince Philippe, in a surprise address to the nation that comes weeks after a woman claiming to be his daughter launched court proceedings to prove her paternity.

A M Homes combines delicious black humour and sharp characterisation

Paperback review: May We Be Forgiven, By A M Homes

America, but with humour and panache

Stella Creasy: A cap on the cost of credit will curb the loan sharks

It's time to end the myth that there are a few bad apples and recognise that the way the entire industry works is causing problems for millions of British consumers. Legal loan sharks have been able to rack up huge profits on the back of consumers struggling with the rising cost of living and a regulator without teeth, with five years of talk resulting in no action.

Editorial: The high price of payday loans

It is better to have lending in the legal economy than drive it into the criminal underworld
British theatre producer David Cecil waving from a court cell at the Makindye Court on September 13, 2012 in Kampala, after being arrested for staging a play about a gay man despite a temporary ban by the country's media authorities

Thrown out of Africa for staging a gay play – but desperate to return again

A British film producer deported to the UK is fighting to get back to his family in Uganda

Prince Charles employs a retinue of 125 official staff

Prince Charles gets a £700,000 pay rise as Duchy of Cornwall earnings hit £19m

Heir to throne ‘chooses to spend’ half his after-tax income on charitable work

Spending Review: Wait for benefits could backfire, warns Tory ally

Bright Blue, a think-tank which supports David Cameron’s drive to rid the Conservatives of their 'nasty party' image, warns Government’s latest crackdown could damage party

Mobile phone revolution begins in Burma

Burma has granted licences to Norway’s Telenor and Qatar’s Ooredoo to set up the country’s first foreign-owned mobile phone networks.

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Independent Travel
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona from £629pp
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Prices correct as of 12 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

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
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas