Now the real economic pain starts: yes, it's 'worse-off Wednesday'

The longest squeeze in British living standards in almost a century intensifies today – which has been dubbed 'worse-off Wednesday' because it marks the beginning of a tax year in which tax increases and benefits and public-sector cuts will add to the misery already experienced by the millions struggling to cope with high inflation and minimal pay rises. Put simply, the 2011-12 fiscal year will be the first full year of Coalition cuts, and the one when the pain begins in earnest.

Nicky Campbell: Don't talk to me about the West Kent Hunt

The first time it happened, it was one of those feelings where your whole life goes before you; a chill, almost like death inside. I couldn't believe I'd said it – such a taboo word.

Police 'kettling' tactic angers protesters

Police risked controversy today as they "kettled" several hundred protesters after clashes during student tuition fee protests.

Clinging on and on the way up: A tale of two fan clubs

Both run by supporters but with wildly differing results on and off the field, Ebbsfleet and AFC Wimbledon meet in the FA Cup tonight. Glenn Moore looks at two new-model outfits

Dartford's Green Army march on to new ground

Britain's first eco-friendly arena will be in the FA Cup spotlight when Port Vale arrive at Princes Park tomorrow

Ruck and Maul: Incident which blinded Quinnell in one eye is investigated by police and WRU

It is not clear yet whether the Welsh Rugby Union's investigation into Llanelli's citing of a stamp during the match at Cross Keys which cost the Scarlets' Gavin Quinnell the sight in his left eye will wait for Gwent police to complete their inquiries into an allegation of assault. In England, the Gravesend player Clarence Harding was blinded in one eye last January by what he alleged was a gouge while playing against Maidstone. Police took evidence but according to Maidstone RFC, who have not disciplined any player, the police concluded there was "insufficient evidence to refer the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service". Nine months on, an RFU disciplinary hearing is pending.

Mother wins NHS gastric band case

A sixteen-stone woman denied gastric band treatment on the NHS has used a judicial review to reverse the decision.

Simon Read: Savers - beware rip-off rates

How many savers have cash in low-paying accounts? I suspect it's millions. Banks and building societies have become notorious for slyly cutting rates on once high-paying accounts, leaving loyal customers getting paltry returns.

21 years for Broadmoor patient who killed two women

A "sadistic" Broadmoor patient was jailed for a minimum of 21 years today after pleading guilty to killing two women more than 12 years ago and attacking two others for sexual kicks.

Health alert as Britain swelters

There were sweltering temperatures in parts of Britain today as the first heat-health alert of the summer came into force.

Church pays out to woman sedated as child

The Church of England has paid "substantial" damages to a woman who claimed she was heavily sedated during her time at a children's home, it was disclosed today.

Warm weather set to stay for most of UK

Much of the UK will stay very warm this week after the country sweltered on its hottest day of the year.

Britain hotter than the Med

Soaring temperatures provided the perfect excuse to spend a day at the beach as Britain sweltered on the hottest day of the year so far.

Pair admit £1m house repairs con

Two men admitted swindling more than £1 million out of people by conning them into paying for costly and unnecessary building work to their homes when they appeared in court today.

Bruma gives perfect riposte to Devine intervention

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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

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After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
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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

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Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

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Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
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Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

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