News Paul Sykes has promised to do 'whatever it takes' to help UKIP top the polls in the European elections according to the Daily Telegraph

One of the country's wealthiest businessmen has announced a multi-million pound boost to the UK Independence Party.

Tories accuse DFID of trying to usurp powers of Foreign Office

Conservatives would rein in aspirations of international development department

Cameron must show grittier leadership, activists warn

David Cameron needs to show "grittier leadership" this year and order his top team to work harder, Conservative activists have warned.

How Boris ditched the jokes and became a serious threat to Ken

The Tory candidate has refused to play the fool - and the strategy appears to be paying off, says Andrew Grice

Last Night's TV: Plenty of blues but not enough soul

Dave Cameron's Incredible Journey, BBC2

'Cameron effect' gives Tories seven-point lead

David Cameron's rejuvenated Conservative Party has opened a seven-point lead over Labour, according to The Independent's latest "poll of polls".

Blair attacked over 'secret nuclear agenda'

Tony Blair has come under a double attack from his allies for the way he introduced nuclear power to the political agenda. He was told that his announcement had aroused suspicions that there is a "secret agenda" behind government policy.

William Burroughs: Jungle fever

A new edition of William Burroughs' book 'The Yage Letters' reveals how the writer was transformed by a trip to South America in search of 'the ultimate fix'. Tim Cumming reports

Nanotechnology: A mini revolution

From cars that change colour to windows that clean themselves, the small world of nanotechnology is certain to dramatically alter our everyday lives

Howe Gelb, Trinity Centre, Bristol <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar -->

Howe Gelb demands a little effort from the listener: imperfection is a glorious thing, and Gelb does it far better than most. Gelb made his name as frontman for Arizona heroes Giant Sand in the early Eighties. They almost single-handedly kick-started the alt.country revolution with their mix of stark, distorted, staccato guitar licks, self-deprecating lyrics, and delta-blues-meets-country undertones.

Bridget Jones and her creator united in travails of pregnancy

In her diary she complains about "bottom cleavage" pregnancy jeans, describes a new-found respect for toilets after weeks of morning sickness, and wonders why people feel they have the right to lay their hands on her pregnant stomach.

Broadcasting: The future is northern

The creation of a media city at Salford Quays - with the BBC among its potential residents - will transform the area and make it the biggest broadcasting and creative hub outside London. Raymond Snoddy reports.

Racing: Peeress proves peerless for Fallon

Filly gives Stoute a seventh Lockinge Stakes to lay early claim to the miling crown

British soldiers hurt in Basra bombing and attack by mob

It was another bloody day for British forces in Basra yesterday, with three soldiers injured when their armoured Land Rover was hit by a roadside bomb.

Turquoise Coast: Brian Patten takes to the water

Get off the road, get in a boat. The best way to see south-west Turkey is to cruise its coast in a gulet. It's a style of holiday that has got the poet Brian Patten hooked...
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Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
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Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
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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
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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