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.

Arts and Entertainment
Sheeran arrives at the 56th annual Grammy Awards earlier this year
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Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer, Alan Hansen and Gary Lineker during Hansen's final broadcast
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Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
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Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
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Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
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TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
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Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
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Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
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Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
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Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?