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

£100m pledged to insulate homes

Alistair Darling today announced an extra £100 million to help tens of thousands of families insulate their homes in a move to cut emissions and reduce energy bills.

Michael McCarthy: A minister rooted in the natural world

Nature Notebook

Last Night's TV: Slick moves among the oily characters

If you've watched any polemical thrillers at all, you'll know that they generally keep at least one wide-eyed innocent to hand, so that the sort of information that would go without saying for the main protagonists actually can get said aloud at some point. The ignorance of this character is a proxy for ours, a representative cluelessness that allows us to be told what we need to know.

Hilary Benn: You Ask The Questions

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs answers your questions, such as 'What's your least green habit?' and 'Do you ever wish your last name wasn't Benn?'

Government rules out badger cull

The Government today ruled out a cull of badgers to tackle the rising toll of TB in cattle.

Farmers threaten court action if badger cull is abandoned

Farmers have threatened legal action if the Government decides not to allow a cull of badgers to tackle tuberculosis in cattle.

Nice work if you can get it: MPs keep their perks

MPs defied public outcry last night and threw out attempts to curb their generous second home allowances and rejected calls for tough new external audits on their claims.

CO2 emissions up by nearly a fifth in 12 years

Carbon dioxide emissions caused by UK consumers increased by almost a fifth between 1992 and 2004, research revealed today.

What happened next to Cumbria's nuclear dump 'bribe'?

Cumbria last week took the first steps towards volunteering to be the site of Britain's first underground nuclear dump, in return for a hefty government "bribe".

The eco-crunch: Can Britain still afford to go green?

The housing market is in decline, fuel costs are soaring – and the worst may be yet to come for the global economy. It’s little wonder that politiciansare backing away from electorally unpalatable green policies. Paul Vallely investigates the hard choices facing consumers and environmentalists

Knobbly fruit and veg back on menu as EU plans to scrap uniformity laws

For years, the bent cucumber – alongside its maligned compatriot, the straight banana – has been wielded by Eurosceptics eager to clobber the European Union. But Brussels bureaucrats are to usher in a new age of acceptance when it comes to knobbly fruit and vegetables, scrapping the rules dictating that only straight cucumbers can be sold in shops as "class one" fruit.

Brown says world needs 1,000 extra nuclear power stations

Gordon Brown has signalled he wants Britain to play a major role in the race to build an extra 1,000 nuclear power stations across the world as part of his vision for ending the global "addiction to oil". The Prime Minister, who will be flying to Saudia Arabia for an emergency oil summit next week, said in spite of the risks of terrorism, Africa could build nuclear power plants to meet growing demands for energy.

Schoolgirl politician: Emily Benn explains why she's standing for parliament

Emily Benn, 18, is sitting her A-levels – and standing for Labour at the next General Election. She talks to Toby Green about why she wants to follow her grandfather into the Commons

Terence Blacker: Let's take a look at life in our own backyard

Fewer picture of polar bears are needed, and more of bees and dragonflies
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Career Services

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Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker