News Council tax set to rise by as much as five per cent

The amount paid by households towards the cost of policing looks set to rise by up to five per cent this year as the Government faces a potential show down with its flagship Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) who are demanding above inflation increases in council tax to combat swingeing budget cuts.

Jerez: Zoo animals facing starvation in the city that ran out of cash

Alasdair Fotheringham reports from Jerez, where public employees go without pay

Home care is disgraceful, says consumer group Which?

Older people are suffering "disgraceful" home care including missed medication and confinement to soiled beds, an undercover investigation revealed.

Loneliness is 'deadly for the elderly'

Loneliness is as big a killer as smoking, obesity and alcohol, campaigners warned as they held the first major summit on loneliness yesterday.

Councils to be scored on adoption

Councils are to be issued with scorecards laying bare how long they take to find adoptive parents for children in care.

Caught short: New Jersey capital runs out of toilet roll

Dispute between mayor and the council jeopardises supplies of tissue and paper cups
Experts feel closer to Leonardo da Vinci's lost fresco, The Battle of Anghiari

Art experts find 'possible' lost da Vinci work behind fresco

Experts believe they are close to confirming that a lost Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece has been found in the cavity of a medieval Italian building, following the detection of paint similar to that used in the Mona Lisa.

Experts feel closer to Leonardo da Vinci's lost fresco, The Battle of Anghiari

The Mona Lisa code: is a Leonardo under the surface?

Experts believe they are close to confirming that a lost Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece is hidden in the cavity of a medieval Italian building.

Alan Grieve's eye for art is a gift to the nation

Alan Grieve: Is the future of the arts in his hands? A serial giver owns up

As a new contemporary art gallery opens on the beach at Hastings, Simon Tait asks the man behind The Jerwood Foundation about nepotism, saving theatres, and picking up the tab for British culture

David Cameron has been accused of making a U-turn because only last month he joined Labour and Liberal Democrats in attacking excessive pay and bonuses

Faster adoptions are 'no flash in the pan' says David Cameron

David Cameron said today that his plans to create a faster adoption process are not "a Prime Ministerial flash in the pan".

Leading article: A betrayal of victims of domestic abuse

The Government was already in trouble with Britain's women – what with the Prime Minister's series of rather patronising remarks and the protests from feminist groups that the Chancellor's budget cuts fall harder on one gender than the other.

Opinion polls predict that Vladimir Putin will win the election easily

Politicians stage hunger strike for right to stand in Russian election

Protest in provincial town highlights growing sense of frustration with corrupt officials. Shaun Walker reports from Lermontov

Government aims to clear adoption hurdles

The Government is to legislate to ensure that potential adoptions are not blocked purely because the would-be parents are not the same race as the child, Education Secretary Michael Gove announced today.

Last night's viewing - Clinton, PBS; My Social Network Stalker: True Stories, Channel 4

"There's a stick-to-itness in this man that's just phenomenal," someone said at the beginning of Clinton, PBS's four-part documentary about the 42nd President of the United States. There wasn't much doubt in the tone of voice that "stick-to-itness" is a virtue, but then what makes Clinton such an intriguing subject for a biographical profile is that it was usually his own vices that made him come unstuck in the first place. And that this was to be the portrait of a flawed man, and not a great one, was explicit from the opening frames of the film, which began with Clinton's moist-eyed apology to America from the White House Rose Garden: "Quite simply, I gave in to my shame," he said.

Councils secure right to say prayers

Councils today regain the power to say prayers before meetings following a Government intervention that it trumpeted as a victory over political correctness.

Leading article: Policing does not need a Prescott

It can hardly be what Lord Prescott intended.

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Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
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Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
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Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
peopleBritish designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
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Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
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Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
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The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
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Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing