News High ideals: Labour has built around 400 homes in each of its local authority areas since the election

Conservative councils build only half as much affordable and social housing

Outside the Box: Shorts cited as Bury fail to bring home bacon with black pudding

As excuses go, Bury's reason for dropping two vital home points in a 1-1 draw with Port Vale last weekend was – like the team in League Two – right up there.

Animal rights activists lose battle to ban badger cull

Court rules animals can be killed in Wales in bid to prevent spread of bovine TB

Leading article: The hunt for MPs

The news, which we report today, that hunt supporters plan to mobilise supporters in the election campaign to unseat Labour friends of foxes, conjures up a fascinating image of men in Barbours, brandishing whips and tally ho-ing through various towns and villages in hot pursuit of the 140 MPs on their electoral hit list.

'Dog tax' proposal ditched a week after it was mooted

The Government has ditched proposals for a "dog tax" that would force owners to insure against their pets attacking people barely a week after the idea was first floated.

Ashok Kumar 'died from natural causes'

Labour MP Ashok Kumar, who was found dead in his home, died from natural causes, police said today.

Staff announcement: will the President come to Checkout One

Tom Peck joins Jacob Zuma on his historic visit – to Sainsbury's in Greenwich

Georgina Downs: Britain's Erin Brockovich

Georgina Downs is fighting to stop farmers spraying toxins on crops. Can she win?

Village People: 06/02/2010

Jumpy Brown blots the copybook

*One of the many old-fashioned touches about the House of Commons is the row of three Commons clerks who are always there during Prime Minister's Questions, seated in wigs and gowns in front of the Speaker.

Is it time to chuck out sell-by dates?

Half of us throw food away when the label says, while the rest just sniff it and see. The result is confusion, waste – and a booming new market in out-of-date produce.

Leading article: Save the elephants

Twenty years ago we might have hoped that the African elephant, whose numbers were crashing disastrously, had been saved by the worldwide ban on the ivory trade brought in by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Some hope. The ban has twice been undermined by big sales of ivory by African states which the CITES has seen fit to allow, and illegal trading and the poaching which feeds it are resurgent and in many countries once more pushing elephants to the brink.

Hilary Benn: A warming planet demands a new approach to farming in Britain

Prioritising the protection of our soil, our water, our plants and our biodiversity is something that makes sense today. The combined effect of a changing climate and a global population that will grow to nine billion in the next 40 years defines why food production and environmental sustainability are interdependent and indivisible. We must again adapt as humankind to survive and prosper.

Leading article: Not a class act

David Cameron may well be wishing he had never made a commitment to repeal the 2004 ban on fox-hunting. A bone thrown to the Tory right, a section of his party whose concerns he has often ignored, the pledge is in danger of coming back to haunt him.

Free lunches handed out to highlight food waste

With countries stalling over policies in Copenhagen, one easy way to cut down on emissions seems rather obvious - eat food more carefully. Recent estimations show that 10 per cent of the worlds richest countries greenhouse gas emissions come from growing food which is never eaten.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
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Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
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Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor