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Manchester’s Chorlton along with Herne Hill, Muswell Hill and Dagenham in London are some of the worst afflicted areas while Mossley Hill and Waterloo in Liverpool also feature prominently

Letter: Gays and the law

Sir: The Independent has always been well to the fore in advocating gay law reform. It is, therefore, a matter of some concern that you believe that in civilian life the age of consent is "the last serious piece of legislation that treats homosexuality as a lesser, shameful expression of human love" (Andrew Marr on the gay age of consent, 8 October). Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Flushing out the greatest invention

The Top 100 list of gadgets, gizmos and devices that changed our lives is headed by an item first used by the ancient Chinese. By William Hartston

Teenager who posed as a train driver gets community service

A teenager who posed as a train driver and drove passengers at up to 100mph was given a community service sentence and put on probation. Nicholas Gray, 18, from Margate, Kent, had held on to his train driver's outfit after two weeks' work experience at London Bridge and Herne Hill stations expired.

Lord Taylor denounces Howard reforms

Crime debate: Minimum sentences idea based on 'flimsy evidence', warns Lord Chief Justice in final speech

Politicians' families are a proper subject for debate

ALMOST two years ago Madam Speaker Boothroyd said she deplored the introduction of members' children into debate. She was quite fierce on the subject, about which she clearly felt strongly. The unfortunate Conservative who was asking the question sank to his seat, suppressed. I thought at the time that Madam Speaker was being both unrealistic and mistaken, for what a politician chooses to do about his or her children's education is surely a legitimate subject for political comment and debate - as much as his or her use of the NHS. In the past, the practice of Labour politicians has varied. So has the amount of attention which it has aroused.

Brixton's pearl on the brink

FACES FOR '96: Two young sportsmen are at the vanguard of emerging British talent; BOXING; James Reed on a heavyweight with shoulders broad enough to bear the acclaim

Yardie gangster is jailed for 14 years

A "yardie" gang member who told a judge that he had been lured to Britain and "set up" in an armed robbery was jailed for 14 years yesterday.

`Superman in flight' at full stretch

Robin Nicholl sees Scotland's ex-world pursuit champion, Graeme Obree, try another new style

I'VE GOT A BIKE

MODERN TIMES

Lords `took cash to ask questions'

Eminent lawyer tells how client paid 'substantial sums' to four peers a nd several MPs for acting on his behalf

Top judges support rights Bill in Lords

The Government was put under renewed pressure last night to incorporate the European Convention on Human Rights into British law. Senior judges, including the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Taylor of Gosforth, backed a private member's Bill in the Lords .

'No hint of motive' in hunt for gun killer

Police investigating the murder of two men shot dead in a south London street last week said the victims appeared to have been 'ordinary, hard- working family men' with nothing in their background to suggest a possible motive.

Cycling: Boardman sweeps the new boards: Richard Williams reports on the inaugural competition at a pounds 9m velodrome

IN FRANCE and Italy you see bank managers and architects out on their racing bikes on sunny Sunday mornings, sheathed in Dayglo Lycra and burning up the asphalt, their heads full of boyhood dreams of Anquetil and Coppi. To the British, by contrast, cycle racing is a sport that belongs to frosty dawns on the Doncaster by-pass. In that context, yesterday's inaugural meeting at the pounds 9m Manchester velodrome offered a rare opportunity to invest the sport with a little glamour. A little, but not too much.

Patient held

A care-in-the-community mental patient was in police custody last night after a woman was repeatedly stabbed with a pair of scissors, then bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher, outside a block of council flats in Herne Hill, south-east London.

Inspection procedures to remain: Peter Rodgers looks at the history of complaints about the fairness of the system

THE Department of Trade and Industry yesterday welcomed the court decision and said it planned no changes in the procedures for investigations under the Companies Act.
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Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
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The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
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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