News Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and ex-wife Mariam Aziz, pictured in 1999

A former international badminton player who became a bodyguard and close friend to the ex-wife of the Sultan of Brunei abused her position to steal diamonds worth £11.6m from her “extremely wealthy” employer, a court heard yesterday.

HS2 the high-speed rail from London to Manchester will be nice, but it won't do much for the North

A one-hour journey time to the North could put Stockport in the capital's commuter belt. Whatever happened to investing in neglected Northern towns?

Save the Royal Institution! Why selling this historic Mayfair building would be a betrayal of our heritage

This neoclassical temple on Albermarle Street hosted Michael Faraday - as the picture below testifies. Will we really let it be converted into a vile jewellers or luxury flats?

Hotels face hard 2013 as supply outstrips demand

London's hotel sector is set to suffer an Olympic-sized hangover this year amid a glut of new hotel rooms and slumping demand, a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers warns.

J.W. Anderson creations are presented at the London Collections: Men yesterday

Scots invade the catwalk as men's designers enjoy a final fling in London

Lambswool and tartan featured as fashion week wraps up

Spooky-couture: the fashion show from hell, via Fantich & Young

If Satan sported Oxford Shoes, they'd probably look something like this - that is, polished enough to reflect the sufferings of the damned, with 1,050 teeth grafted into the soles for good measure. The shoes, pictured above, are included in a collection of nightmarish objects by designers Fantich and Young. Interested in spooky-couture? Look no further.

Tube station cleaners stage strike

Workers who clean London Underground stations are striking over the new year in a dispute over pay.

Fears grow for missing 15-year-old girl and her baby son

Concerns are growing for a 15-year-old girl and her baby son who have been missing for five days.

David Hockney: A Bigger Splash 1967

Review of 2012: Visual Arts

The Big Six: Miami beach retreats

The Freehand, Indian Creek Drive

This hip hostel comes from the Sydell Group, notable for The NoMad and The Ace hotels in New York. Once again, they've drafted in Roman & Williams for the interiors (responsible for the industrial-chic look at the Ace), so low rates won't equate to a style compromise. At The Freehand, they've opted for a beach cabin feel, with wooden floors and nautical hues in the dorms and doubles. There's a tropical pool, a Broken Shaker cocktail bar and a new restaurant, The House, to come in March.

The Freehand, 2727 Indian Creek Drive (001 305 531 2727; thefreehand.com). Dorm beds start at $30 (£19), room only.

Matthew Norman: The unignorable Mr Farage

Some things in life, you put off and put off. The source of the procrastination may be tedium (all those red utility bills yellowing on the doormat), or fear about a medical problem such as tinnitus, which is probably no more than a whooshy noise in the ear, but might prove a symptom of a benign tumour (acoustic neuroma) if you took it to the doctor.

The toughest question for Cameron come 2015: how to solve a problem like Ukip?

The Prime Minister can no longer ignore Nigel Farage and his party

The Ritz, one of London’s best hotels, faces BBC allegations of not paying corporation tax

How do guests at The Ritz feel about it not paying corporation tax?

The Ritz, perhaps Britain’s most instantly recognisable hotel, is facing the prospect of being targeted by protest groups as early as next month over revelations that it has not paid any corporation tax in the last 17 years.

Barclay brothers drawn into tax controversy over Ritz

A delayed Panorama investigation into the billionaire Barclay brothers will claim that London's Ritz hotel - one of the jewels in the crown of the twins' property portfolio – has not paid any corporation tax since it was acquired by them 17 years ago.

An investigation will claim that the Ritz hotel – owned by reclusive Channel island tycoons David and Frederick Barclay – has incurred no corporation tax since the pair acquired it in the mid-1990s

Barclay brothers drawn into tax controversy over Ritz investment

A delayed Panorama investigation into the billionaire Barclay brothers will claim that London's Ritz hotel – one of the jewels in the crown of the twins' property portfolio – has not paid any corporation tax since it was acquired by them 17 years ago.

Ahead of his time: The 1840 letter and a sketch of the accused, to be auctioned this week

Vital clue ignored for 50 years

Letter shows Scotland Yard might have nailed Jack the Ripper on fingerprints, had it heeded a humble country surgeon

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn