Voices

To buy a ticket for a hotly tipped play, within seconds of booking opening, requires perseverance and nerve as websites falter, payments vanish and a confirmation finally limps through. The goal is to see a top cast, whose fluency and fluidity is testament to years of determination – getting to drama school, being noticed at the end-of-year shows, getting an audition, getting a part and nailing it.  

The more modern town of Salford, where the latest investment of the English Cities Fund is expected to be announced

Radical thinking could back new towns with pension funds

Could Britain’s chronic housing shortage be solved by using insurers’ assets? Jamie Dunkley and Russell Lynch report

Ian Watkins wants to appeal the length of his sentence

Paedophile Ian Watkins in appeal bid for child sex offences

Former Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins, who was handed a 35-year sentence for a string of child sex offences, has lodged an application for permission to appeal the length of his sentence.

Iain Duncan Smith blamed civil servants for not giving him the full picture of teething problems of universal credit

Iain Duncan Smith compares being on benefits to slavery and suggests he is acting in tradition of abolitionist

Iain Duncan Smith has suggested being on benefits is a form of slavery and he is like abolitionist William Wilberforce through his introduction of welfare reforms.

Janna Bullock, who sold property in Moscow, New York and London, is a society figure in Manhattan

French court orders Alexey Kuznetsov to be extradited to Russia facing criminal charges

Russian authorities issue international warrant for socialite Janna Bullock

Flying first-class: The meticulous paper aeroplane that's five years in the making

Do you have trouble threading a needle? Then don't even think about how difficult you'd find constructing this amazing 'paper aeroplane'...

She said, he said: the cast of 'Blurred Lines'

Blurred Lines, theatre review: Robin Thicke meets The Equality Illusion

The Shed, National Theatre, London

London student protesters on the march once more, but again police are nowhere to be seen

Students marching on a range of issues, including "justice for Mark Duggan"

US court rules sperm donor to lesbian couple is legal father and must pay child support

Kansas state sues Marotta for $6,000 in child support for four-year-old girl

An undated image of Edgar Tamayo. Texas executed Tamayo, a Mexican national, on 22 January 2014.

Texas executes Mexican Edgar Tamayo despite pleas from governments

Edgar Tamayo's death was delayed by three hours as the US Supreme Court heard last-minute appeals

Doubts over NHS waiting time figures, after watchdog uncovers 'inconsistencies'

Serious doubts have been cast over the reliability of NHS waiting times figures, after the Government’s financial watchdog identified “inconsistencies” in the way that hospital trusts measure and record data.

Iain Duncan Smith opposes plans for £12bn of further cuts from next year

IDS: 'Conservatives are winning the argument on welfare'

The Conservatives are winning the argument against Labour on welfare because the debate is no longer about how much money is spent, Iain Duncan Smith will claim today.

Tycoon attacked over $150m sale of Congo oil rights that cost $500,000

Dan Gertler, one of the world's most controversial mining tycoons, was back in the spotlight last night over his dealings in the impoverished Democratic Republic of Congo, after it emerged that he is set to sell oil exploration rights that he bought from the government for $500,000 for a staggering $150m.

The Week in Radio: American podcast The Complete Guide to Everything is banal...and brilliant

There comes a point, usually in the dead of winter, when one is forced to look further afield for one's listening, preferably to a place where the presenters don't sound as though they have lost the will to live or, conversely, as if they are trying to batter you to death with their joie de vivre.

George Stinney, the youngest person ever executed in South Carolina, in 1944

George Stinney: After 70 years, justice in sight for boy America sent to electric chair

George Stinney was 14 when executed for a crime his family says he didn’t commit. A retrial may clear his name

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before