News An area cordoned off by police, similar to the cordoned off house in Hartlepool where Mark Denton was found injured on New Year's Eve.

Police have launched a murder inquiry after a former boxer died in an incident at a New Year’s Eve party.

Record low rise in council tax bills

Council tax bills in England will rise by an average 1.8% in 2010/11, it was announced today.

Steel giant Corus wins £200m order

Steel giant Corus has won an order worth almost £200 million to supply pipes to energy giant Total for a new gas field project, it was announced today.

Teenager condemned over war memorial outrage

A drunken teenager was condemned by a district judge today for apparently urinating on a war memorial.

King courtier: Lord Mandelson

He's made the most spectacular comeback in modern politics and kept his old rival in post. No wonder the First Secretary is on the march

Lord Mandelson: A university education remains the gateway to the professions

Alan Milburn's report [on social mobility] was a milestone. As he set out, this is a much bigger issue than just higher education. It has implications for parental attitudes and the whole education system, especially the journey towards or away from university that begins in the early teens, or indeed even earlier than that. In 13 years as MP for Hartlepool, I saw at first hand the damage that can be done by low expectations and by barriers to social mobility. I have always believed that a fair Britain is one in which the daughter of a Hartlepool shopkeeper has the same shot at being a high court judge as the son of a Surrey stockbroker.

Lord Mandelson: Whitehall's Emperor, or just a team player?

He faced a barrage of questions from MPs given a rare chance to discover more about his job

Hartlepool

Secondary School Tables 2009

Babysitter accused of toddler murder

A babysitter murdered a toddler by repeatedly smashing his head against bannisters in her home, a court heard today.

<a href="http://blogs.independent.co.uk/openhouse/2008/11/giggling-mandy.html">Jane Merrick: Giggling Mandy</a>

Watching Prime Minister's Questions from the members' gallery, above the opposition benches and facing Gordon Brown and Labour MPs, and on an excursion from the House of Lords, was would-be Strictly Come Dancing contestant and yachting enthusiast Lord Mandelson of Hartlepool and Foy.

344 schoolchildren a day 'suspended for violence'

An average of 344 children a day are suspended from English schools for violence against other pupils.

Grimsby appoint Newell as manager

Mike Newell has been unveiled as the new Grimsby manager.

Huge rise in complaints about water companies

A small number of water companies were responsible for an 11 per cent overall increase in complaints last year, the Consumer Council for Water said.

Parents' lies crushed our world, say sons of 'dead' canoeist

The sons of John Darwin, the canoeist who faked his own death, faced their mother in court yesterday, saying she betrayed them with elaborate lies about their father's apparent demise.

British Energy earnings drop

Nuclear power firm British Energy reported a sharp fall in annual earnings today after two of its stations went offline last year.

Family supports returned canoeist

The family of a man who disappeared for five years only to turn up last week have insisted he has no memory of where he has been.

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NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
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You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
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Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

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Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
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