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It is hard to accept that something that enormous and that popular can be as good as people tell you it is. A Song of Ice and Fire, George RR Martin's vast fantasy epic – simply reading that phrase will close some minds instantly – has been appearing at irregular intervals since 1996. It is now being adapted as a television series. The first season, A Game of Thrones, recently aired on HBO and Sky Atlantic.
Children sleep within inches of fungi growing through walls. Immigrants live illegally in sheds in other people's back gardens. These are just two examples of the rise of slum housing in Britain, as individuals and local authorities struggle to cope with a 21st-century housing crisis which has led to unscrupulous "slum landlords" profiteering from society's most vulnerable.
Jon Snow, the Channel 4 newsreader and president of the national cyclists' organisation, CTC, has added his support to The Independent's "Save our cyclists" campaign, launched yesterday.
I was an advice worker for New Horizon and Jon, as the centre's chairman, would swish in and out for meetings. The first time I spoke to him was a Christmas Day shift 10 years ago. He came into the kitchen wearing a mustard-coloured waistcoat, holding a lump of Stilton and bellowing: "Cheese?" It was surreal.
Former army officer resigns from Government with savage attack on conduct of conflict in Afghanistan
Led by presenter Jon Snow, Channel 4 News is the spikiest and most irreverent of news programmes. Ian Burrell visits the studio and hears from Snow and his colleagues how they outsmart their rivals and of their fears for the show's future