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.

House construction at 90-year low

House construction is set to plunge to its lowest level for 90 years as councils have cut their home-building targets by more than 270,000 in the past two years, a report warns.

Petrol bombs thrown at police in continued North Ireland protests

Two petrol bombs were thrown at police in Northern Ireland last night but protests over the flying of the Union flag were largely peaceful.

Threat of jail for woman who shouted at her husband

A woman has been given an Anti-Social Behaviour Order after she repeatedly kept her neighbours awake at night by shouting at her husband.

The Christmassy way to tell your neighbours you hate them

A woman called Sarah Childs in Denham Springs, Louisiana has erected a giant Christmas light display in the shape of a hand flipping the bird.

Britain's most vulnerable children assaulted and sexually abused while shunted around care homes

Some of Britain’s most damaged and vulnerable children have been assaulted and sexually abused while being shunted around a series of care homes far from home, according to a damning report out today.

Editorial: Doctors must join the world of 24/7

When the new NHS Commissioning Board publishes its first planning guidance on Tuesday, a central proposal will be that hospitals and GP surgeries should move towards a seven-day working week. Such a change is long overdue. It is 15 years since the reform of Sunday trading laws allowed shops to open every day of the week. Yet hospitals remain stuck in a culture of nine to five, Monday to Friday.

Homes, G4S style: Rubbish, rising damp... and 'roaches'

Another shambles as security giant leaves asylum seeker living in squalor

Manchester Police target 'Mr Bigs' of organised crime in dawn raids

Police have launched a series of early morning raids against the “Mr Bigs” of organised crime.

Case study: Shaun Collins, 53, was sleeping rough in a Barking churchyard earlier this year. No Second Night Out were alerted and he was taken to a hostel in Islington

Don’t give the homeless money, call this hotline, says minister at charity launch

Giving money or food to a homeless person won’t do them any good, the housing minister has said, as welfare charities launch a “homelessness hotline” billed by the Government as an alternative to hand-outs.

Belfast city centre: Loyalists protest at lowering Union Flag yesterday

Thirty officers injured by loyalists in Belfast Union Flag protests

Police in Northern Ireland were last night at full stretch as sporadic loyalist protests over flag-flying broke out in many areas in and around Belfast.

Loyalists in Glengormley protest against the Union Flag being removed from Belfast city hall

Unflagging hatred: the new symbol of violence in Belfast

David McKittrick reports on a community that feels it is losing control and status

Council set to axe another 900 jobs

Up to 900 full-time posts are set to be axed at a city council less than two years after 2,000 jobs were cut.

Manchester Airport hub approved for take-off

A £100 million freight and warehouse complex could be built at Manchester Airport after the plans won outline planning permission from the city council.

Lettings market has become property industry's "wild west"

89% of voters in key marginal constituencies agree it should be compulsory for agents to register with a regulatory body

CBI urges Chancellor to pump £1.5bn into economy

Chancellor George Osborne, pictured, should use his autumn statement to plough £1.5bn into the economy and kick-start growth, the main trade body for business said yesterday.

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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there