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The Commons chamber was visited with a  welcome onset of  grown-upness on Iran

Andreas Whittam Smith: Lying has become a way of life for our politicians

In their hearts, I believe, they are contemptuous of ordinary people

Jane Merrick: Note to Straw - Now release Michael Shields

Jack Straw has refused parole to Ronnie Biggs, despite earlier reports suggesting he was about to sign his release. Granting freedom to someone who has courted the media and shown no repentance would have been wrong, Straw said. Fine.

The football fan, his fight for freedom, and a dilemma for Jack Straw

Michael Shields says he is an innocent man. The Government has the power to pardon him – but risks provoking a diplomatic row

Ideas to revive the British political system

The pros, cons and prospects for reform

Cost-cutting blamed as violent mob wrecks jail

A Prison Service investigation will be launched after a “violent, seething mob” of inmates tore apart a jail, amid claims that government cost-cutting was to blame.

Simon Carr: Gordon and Jack hooked on Tory-bashing

Sketch: We are to be given rights to health care and education. But why can't they just give us health care and education?

Straw sets out rights for 21st-century Britons

Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, yesterday set out plans for an updated list of Britons' rights and responsibilities redrawn for the 21st century – more than 300 years after their first introduction.

Election watchdogs to check £2,000 Straw gift

Election watchdogs are to review a £2,000 donation to Jack Straw's local Labour Party after claims it was made by a company which does not trade in Britain. The Electoral Commission said it was looking into a complaint by the Tory MP Ben Wallace about the donation from Westminster International Consultants. The money was accepted by the Blackburn Labour Party on 1 April 2005. But there have been claims that the firm did not do business in Britain.

Rory Bremner: Our liberty is on the line. It's time to act

It is not just laptops and memory sticks that are being lost: it is freedom

Rhodri Marsden: There's a lesson in Jack Straw for us all

For some reason the internet clouds our processes of reasoning

Lost in Lagos? The mystery of Jack Straw and the Nigerian scammers

A message from 'Jack': "I misplaced my wallet on my way to the hotel where my money and other valuable things were kept..." "I would like you to assist me with a soft loan urgently to settle my hotel bills and get myself back home"

Jack Straw 'surprised' by raid on Green's office

Justice Secretary Jack Straw today said that he had been "surprised" at the raid on the Parliamentary office of Tory frontbencher Damian Green.

Jack Straw: The criminal justice lobby seems to have forgotten about victims

There is an illustrious tradition of penal reformers – courageous men and women like John Howard, Elizabeth Fry, Herbert Gladstone – who have made a profound contribution to improving how society treats offenders. But crucially, they spoke in a language people understood.

<a href="http://blogs.independent.co.uk/openhouse/2008/10/jack-straw-and.html">Andrew Neilson: Jack Straw and his crimogenic glasshouse</a>

So Jack Straw thinks it is the language that penal reformers use which is the problem. Having sat at the RSA and heard him deliver his chiding speech to a room full of, er, penal reformers, I have a few points to make back.

Computer firm loses prison staff data

Justice Secretary Jack Straw last night ordered an urgent inquiry after it emerged that a private contractor had lost a portable hard drive holding personal details of thousands of prison workers.

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The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
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Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
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Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to US
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
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New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday

Actress sees off speculation about her face in an amazing way

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Florida mother launched a petition to ban the sale of the dolls

Arts and Entertainment
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Marvel has released first teaser trailer week early after it leaked online

Extras
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CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
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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
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?