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 The result is confusion, waste – and a booming new market in out-of-date produce.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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Taste the difference: Nell Frizzell tucks into a fry-up in Jesse's cafe in east London
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The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes