News George Osborne is said to have paid £100 an hour to be trained by a Harley Street vocal specialist during his days as shadow Chancellor

George Osborne is said to have paid £100 an hour to be trained by a Harley Street vocal specialist during his days as shadow Chancellor, to help him sound weighty and authoritative. But did he get his money’s worth? After listening to the Chancellor’s speech on Monday, the Labour MP Jamie Reed seemed to think not. He tweeted: “Can someone please reintroduce Osborne to ‘t’ as a consonant? Cos I godda dell ya, that speech made me wanna scream.”

Let down: PC David Rathband, who was blinded by gunman Raoul Moat

Pc David Rathband: Estranged wife 'could not forgive officer left blind by gunman Raoul Moat over affair with 7/7 survivor Lisa French'

Kath Rathband tells inquest estranged husband who was shot and left blind by gunman Raoul Moat would call her 100 times a day

Aitor Karanka will be unveiled as the new Middlesbrough manager on Wednesday

Rene Meulensteen in pole position for Crystal Palace manager's job as Aitor Karanka heads for Middlesbrough

Crystal Palace are in negotiations with the former Manchester United first-team coach Rene Meulensteen as they close in on appointing a successor to Ian Holloway.

Police have used tasers to stop people committing suicide or harming themselves

A less lethal weapon? As Taser use is rolled out across London, the public has much to fear

If we look abroad, the link between taser use and fatal injury has already been found

Steve Harmison holds the Ashes urn with Andrew Flintoff in 2005

Former England bowler Steve Harmison announces retirement from cricket

Bowler was part of England's Ashes-winning team in 2005

Burglar stole kayak to row to a better life
in France

A wanted burglar has been jailed after he admitted stealing a kayak and trying to paddle across one of the world’s busiest sea lanes to start a new life in France.

High Force waterfall looking its best on a sunny autumn day

Walk of the month: Following Alfred Wainwright in the Pennines

The celebrated fellwalker’s ‘Pennine Journey’ is well worth following – especially if you do it a bit at a time

Paedophile who posed as Justin Bieber jailed for 14 years

A prolific paedophile who posed online as the singer Justin Bieber to convince young girls all over the world to expose themselves on video has been jailed for 14 years, in a case described as one of the worst the courts have ever seen.

Museum treasures: Vast collection of rare and precious items revealed

Stashed away underground beneath a popular museum lies a vast collection of rare and precious items.

Surrey given Hashim Amla boost

Surrey's hopes of avoiding relegation from the First Division of the County Championship have been boosted by the signing of South Africa's Hashim Amla, currently rated as the best Test and ODI batsman in the world.

Shift that will keep Tories out of northern cities for years

Benefit changes are likely to ensure no Tory is elected as an MP by a northern city for some time  to come

The England Under-21s lost all three of their matches

PFA chief fears football is 'losing its soul' over money

Gordon Taylor has raised concerns that football may have its priorities wrong

River Wear tragedy: hero teenager lost her life trying in vain to save another girl

Two teenage girls found by police divers in named

The national trust Holy island castle from Lindisfarne Priory

Walk of the Month: Bamburgh, Northumberland - a thousand tales lurk among these dramatic cliffs and crags

There’s plenty of history to discover on this dramatic walk along the Northumberland coast, says Mark Rowe

Stephane Sessegnon

Sunderland pair Phil Bardsley and Stephane Sessegnon targeted by car thieves

Both had their cars stolen from their homes

Hoarding has been the subject of numerous television programmes including 'Britain’s Biggest Hoarder', pictured

It makes good TV but people are at grave risk: Coroner warns of dangers of hoarding after pensioner dies in fire at cluttered house

Firefighters took half an hour to reach Ann Bradshaw in home piled to the ceiling with hoarded items

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Prices correct as of 12 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

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
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas