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.”

Very cold comfort: Sub-zero snap will continue for at least another week

Britain will have to endure its current cold snap – making this month one of the coldest Novembers in nearly two decades – for at least another week, the Met Office said yesterday.

Business contact centre to provide 500 jobs

A business outsourcing firm is to open a new contact centre, creating more than 500 jobs, it was announced today.

Storms strand wildlife experts on island

A team of wildlife experts has been stranded on a remote island for more than two weeks because of extreme weather conditions, it was revealed today

Return of Northern Bear's finance head

Northern Bear, the Aim-listed support services minnow, is expected to announce this week that former finance director Steve Roberts will return to the role.

Staunton takes charge at Darlington

Darlington have appointed former Republic of Ireland coach Steve Staunton as their new manager.

Strong winds warning for motorists

Drivers have been warned to keep their speed down as strong winds look set to batter parts of northern England and Scotland tomorrow.

DVD: George Gently (15)

Martin Shaw has swapped John Deed's judicial robes for the copper's overcoat in this Sixties-set series.

Oldham appoint Penney as manager

Oldham today unveiled former Darlington manager Dave Penney as their new manager.

Darlington enter administration

League Two play-off hopefuls Darlington have entered administration and will be deducted 10 points by the Football League.

Bears, By Bernd Brunner

As this delightful but often discomfiting book shows, "it has been the bear's fate to serve as a yardstick for humans". Moving with a brisk tread between actual bear behaviour and the myths and tales that partner it, Brunner reminds us - with dry wit and great illustrations - that we get bears wrong. Above all, they're just not that into us.

Redcar and Cleveland

Secondary School Tables 2009

Bodies found in house blaze

Two people who died in a house fire did not have working smoke alarms, the fire service said today.

More borrowers set to lose homes as repossession orders soar

The number of court orders granted to mortgage lenders, allowing them to repossess the homes of customers who have defaulted on their loans, rose by more than 12 per cent between the first and second quarters of the year, breaking through the 30,000 mark for the first time since the housing crash of the early 1990s.

Hoyte bid from Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough owner Steve Gibson has confirmed the club are awaiting a response from Arsenal after submitting an offer for defender Justin Hoyte.

Mystery of tumbling puffin population

Numbers of puffins at England's largest colony, on the Farne Islands off the Northumberland coast, have mysteriously tumbled by a third in the past five years.

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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