Sport Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal

Assessing those that are struggling ahead of Sunday's Premier League fixture

Paul Heaton debuts 'longest pop song ever'

At this year's Manchester International Festival, sometime Beautiful South and Housemartins singer Paul Heaton debuts what's being billed as the longest pop song ever. "The 8th" promises to be so much more than that, though. It's a theatrical performance, an ensemble concert and a suite of interconnected narratives and themes. Or "one song, eight different melodies," as Heaton has it.

Hacking fears boost NCC

The rise of so-called "hacktivism" has helped the IT group NCC, with pre-tax profits rising a fifth to £17.3m in the year to the end of May.

That Day We Sang, Manchester International Festival: Opera House

At times, the centrepiece of a Manchester International Festival devoted to original works felt very familiar. Close your eyes and you're hearing Victoria Wood singing at her upright piano when her doleful heroine, Enid Sutcliffe, finally lets herself go. "You won't have a bunch of sex tricks, you won't hum like a Scalextrix, when Enid is your name...."

Court rejects call to reverse judgment on police bail

The highest court in the land has dismissed an attempt to suspend a legal ruling which has left the police bail system in chaos, hampering investigations and threatening thousands of prosecutions.

Dr Dee, Palace Theatre, Manchester<br/>The Crash of the Elysium, MediaCity UK, Salford<br/>Biophilia, Campfield Market Hall, Manchester

Damon Albarn's opera makes an ambitious attempt to resurrect the spirit of a once important Elizabethan courtier

Raids target men over child sex exploitation

Police were carrying out a series of raids this morning against men involved in the sexual exploitation of teenage girls.

Hospital sorry for corridor death

A mental health trust has apologised to the family of a patient who died in a hospital corridor.

City defender Tour&#233; to appear before FA hearing

The Manchester City defender Kolo Touré faces a Football Association hearing at Wembley today, charged with testing positive for a banned substance believed to be found in a dietary supplement.

Oldham: A town still divided?

The Oldham riots raised ugly questions about segregation. Ten years on, Ben Chu argues that the problems were always more nuanced &ndash; but that the town, along with Bradford and Burnley, is learning the lessons of its past

Bad news for celebrity seeking Twitterati

Yesterday&rsquo;s Mail on Sunday led on a story about a journalist (who cannot be named) being reported to the Attorney General for criminal contempt for naming one of the two footballers (who cannot be named) in a tweet.

Jerseys, knickers and anklets of 1934 inspire City's Wembley shirts

A long-forgotten telegram found in Umbro's vaults helps Manchester City to honour their FA Cup final heritage

Online House Hunter: Searching for good news

Each time a house price index is published I pore over it in the hopes of finding stability in these variable times.

Tips and deals of the week: 24/04/2011

The Tent

Try the new inflatable tent range, the Vango AirBeam. Just pump it up and peg it down – Vango says it takes less than five minutes.

Find out more at vango.co.uk

The 100 Words That Made the English, By Tony Thorne

What a great idea for a book. Thorne gets his lexical portrait of the English off to a good start with "actually", defined as "a timid conveyor of a contradiction", though he might have included the warning given by Felix Leiter to James Bond when 007 was about to impersonate an American that the use of "actually" was a dead giveaway of Englishness. (The same applies to foggiest, as in "I haven't got the", which appears here under "foggy".)

BmiBaby cuts British flights

Budget airline BmiBaby is to stop flying from Cardiff and Manchester after the end of this summer, blaming the tricky economic climate.

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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
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
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