Lord Prescott attacks 'exploitation' of unemployed young people

Lord Prescott has attacked the “exploitation” of unemployed young people encouraged to take on unpaid voluntary work in the hope of getting a permanent job.

Audiobook: Beastly Things, By Donna Leon (read by Andrew Sachs)

An offering you can't refuse

I have the right to defend myself, says pistol-packing Italian mayor

The mayor of a southern Italian city has caused a storm by turning up to political rallies with a gun tucked into his belt.

Flowers have been left in memory of the girl who was killed in a bomb attack in Italy

Italian bomb that killed teenage girl 'unlikely to be mafia'

The bomb attack which killed a teenage girl and wounded 10 others in the southern Italian town of Brindisi was probably done by an individual with no links to the mafia, a senior official said on Sunday.

Maria Cacciola, left, drank acid after being forced to leave her children with the ’Ndrangheta clan; Lea Garofalo was submerged in an acid bath

The Mafia wives who want out

One vanished. Another killed herself by drinking acid. For women who marry into the Mob, there is often no escape – even if they turn to the police for protection

Policemen escort Michele Zagaria (centre), the boss of the Casalesi clan

Camorra code is cracked: Letter reveals how jailed boss still ran the mafia

Note about holidays and home-made jam was not so innocent

Mafia boss of bosses is jailed for 10 years

He was the boss of bosses that no one thought existed. But yesterday, Domenico Oppedisano, 81, was jailed for 10 years for his pivotal role in 'Ndrangheta, Europe's most feared and powerful crime syndicate.

Easy Money, By Jens Lapidus

If you're having withdrawal symptoms after Henning Mankell wrote finis to the chronicles of Kurt Wallander, remember that it's possible to take alternative journeys down the mean streets of Swedish cities. If you're hardy enough to tackle crime narratives drenched in vitriol, grit your teeth and tackle Jens Lapidus's lacerating Stockholm Noir trilogy: Easy Money is the first volume. Lapidus paints a more cosmopolitan canvas than other writers – not to mention employing a far grimmer and more nihilistic use of the genre, with nary a comforting Swedish copper in sight.

Tim Walker: Know what I'd do if I won the lottery?

Tales From The Water Cooler: Why do lottery winners ever agree to publicise their good fortune?
A politician of unimpeachable integrity: Scalfaro in 2006

Oscar Luigi Scalfaro: Former president of Italy, renowned for his honesty

Oscar Luigi Scalfaro was a Catholic politician whose anachronistic virtues, in particular his complete honesty and his commitment to the constitution, came to Italy's rescue during the gravest political crisis of the post-war era, the corruption scandal which erupted in 1993.

John Travolta will play mob boss John Gotti

Shadduppa ya stereotype! Italian-Americans fight back

After decades of being portrayed in films as gesticulating Mafiosi, they are finally getting organised – and fighting back

Judge, politician and policeman targeted in Italy mafia arrests

Prosecutors say an Italian judge, politician and police official are among 10 people detained in a crackdown on the 'ndrangheta crime syndicate.

The mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, left, has called on the new Interior Minister, Anna Maria Cancellieri to act

Rome's mayor vow to end mob slayings as death toll swells

Just before five o'clock on Tuesday evening, to the sound of waves lapping on the nearby beach, nine gunshots rang out by a bar in Via Forni in the down-at-heel Roman suburb of Ostia.

The Baby of Belleville, By Anne Marsella

This lifestyle is more dangerous than I thought...
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NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own