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

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
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Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
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Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
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Astronauts could be kept asleep for days or even weeks
scienceScientists are looking for a way to keep astronauts in a sleeplike state for days or weeks
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Fabian Delph celebrates his goal
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NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own