News A committee of MPs said key performance indicators used by Jobcentre Plus should immediately be revised to help people into work, not just off benefits

An “unprecedented” number of those dependent on welfare were punished in the year to June 2013, according to a report into Jobcentre Plus published today by the Work and Pensions Committee.

A Bedroom Tax protest outside the SNP Autumn Conference in October 2013; nine months after its introduction, the policy is still dividing opinions

The 'bedroom tax' remains one of the most divisive of Coalition policies

Labour has pledged to abolish the scheme

Liquid assets: GiveDirectly has transferred about $6.3m to 6,000 households in Africa

Direct debit: The charity GiveDirectly donates cash straight to people in need

Sarah Morrison finds out what traditional charities think of letting the poor spend it on what they like

Emergency housing bill in London boroughs reaches over half a billion pounds

The Chief Executive of housing charity Shelter said families in alternative accommodation are left without roots and stability

Not so liveable: Melbourne

Forgotten in life, a victim shames a city: The violent murder of a homeless man triggers Melbourne's remorse

Passers-by take 'selfies' at the scene where Wayne 'Mousey' Perry was stabbed to death

Delhi Government to replace homeless shelter tents with portable cabins during cold weather

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced plans to begin replacing the plastic tents as the bitterly cold weather continues to bite

Crisis? What crisis? Just ask the ever-growing numbers of UK and overseas nationals being forced to sleep rough

I thought Thatcher’s cardboard box city of rough sleepers outside Waterloo station had gone forever

New wave: Pope Francis has liberated many Catholics from decades of internal exile

Pope Francis can heal the Catholic Church

'Time' magazine's Person of the Year appeals to believers and atheists alike with a message that could bring redemption to a troubled faith

Facebook and Twitter top twenty: The Independent stories you've been sharing this year

From drunken nights out with a llama to testicle-eating fishes, it’s a mixed bag of stories you’ve been sharing on social media in 2013.

Among the top twenty Independent articles you’ve been tweeting and posting on Facebook this year, there are serious reports, ferocious comment pieces, astounding research and a fair few articles that pay tribute to the adage ‘the truth is stranger than fiction.’

Housing First: Good news for the homeless this Christmas

In one US State, homelessness may be about to become history

1 in every 105 households in England at risk of repossession or eviction

Newham in London named worst 'hotspot'

The News Matrix: Monday 16 December 2013

Mandela buried in ancestral village

The number of people sleeping rough in London has risen by 13 per cent in the last year

Sudden rise in homelessness blamed on housing shortage and the 'bedroom tax'

Homeless charities raise the alarm after rough sleepers rise by 13 per cent in London this year, and six per cent across the country

Everton striker Steven Naismith was given a sense of perspective after his uncle was caught up in the Clutha pub helicopter crash

Everton striker Steven Naismith stresses 'football is only a game' after his uncle Douglas narrowly avoided serious injury in the Clutha pub tragedy

Naismith's uncle has just walked in when the helicopter crash happened and the ex-fire fighter attempted to help others instinctively despite injuring his shoulder

Eric Brandon jailed for life after shooting teenage stepson Alex Koser dead during row over the volume of his computer games

48-year-old, from Georgia in the USA, was jailed after calling 911 and confessing to the crime

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform