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
Vietnam & Cambodia
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Bruges
India & Nepal
Japan
Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
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