News Council tax set to rise by as much as five per cent

The amount paid by households towards the cost of policing looks set to rise by up to five per cent this year as the Government faces a potential show down with its flagship Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) who are demanding above inflation increases in council tax to combat swingeing budget cuts.

Anne Kirkbride, who as Deirdre Barlow is on-screen wife to William Roache's character Ken Barlow, Chris Gascoyne - his son Peter Barlow in the ITV soap - and actress Helen Worth, who plays Gail Platt, are expected to give evidence in Roache's defence

William Roache trial: Deirdre Barlow actor says he was a 'perfect gentleman'

The Coronation Street actor William Roache always behaved impeccably in the company of young women, Anne Kirkbride, who plays his on-screen wife Deirdre Barlow, has told a court.

Former Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans leaves Preston Crown Court after his pre-trial hearing to face charges of sexual assault on January 24, 2014 in Preston, Lancashire.

Former deputy speaker pleads not guilty to all sex offence charges

The Conservative MP resigned as Commons deputy speaker after he was charged in September

Coronation Street actor William Roache arrives at Preston Crown Court

William Roache trial: Fellow cast member described Coronation Street star as 'cockroach' in warning to girl, court told

Actor playing Len Fairclough said 'You want to keep your eye on him, he will lead you astray' jury hears

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has suffered a sprained ankle and will miss the trip to Hull on Sunday

Stoke v Liverpool: Daniel Sturridge set to return from injury

Brendan Rodgers backs the England striker to make an immediate impact

Anti-fracking protesters claim police using incident involving flare 'aimed at aircraft' as an excuse to search through camp

Officers said a flare was aimed 'directly' at the approach path of a police helicopter as it came into land

UK weather: Britain faces another barrage of rain as coastal regions count cost of 'worst storms in 20 years'

Two dead, a teenager missing, damage to homes and businesses, transport disrupted. And it isn't over. More rain, high tides and gale-force winds are on the way

Nick Griffin, leader of the BNP which opponents say has suffered a split

'Free from financial worries': BNP leader Nick Griffin declared bankrupt

News means he was having 'a good day'

Martin and Sean McKinney dodge a wave at Saltcoats Harbour in Saltcoats, Scotland.

Flood warning: why the long-term forecast for homeowners is so alarming

With no end to the rain in sight, we report on why inadequate defences and lax building laws will put thousands of people at risk

A major review of the industry launched after the Rochdale child-grooming scandal has revealed that 63 privately owned children’s care homes across the country did not meet the Government’s minimum standards (picture posed by model)

Rochdale sex abuse cases could have been prevented 'if teams had acted earlier on danger signs'

The latest in a series of damning reports concludes that early intervention would have saved the teenage girls from repeated attacks

The agent, 63, of Larkfield Close, Bury (left) stands accused of attacking a 46-year-old woman in Bury, Greater Manchester

Neville Neville has been found ‘not guilty’ of sexual assault

His son, Gary Neville, broke down in tears as the jury cleared the football agent of all charges

Bells jingled when curfew man went into loft for festive decorations

Tag monitoring system triggered alarm because he wasn't meant to go out

'Ethnicity is a factor' in grooming, says Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk

Ethnicity is a factor in on-street grooming cases, a Labour MP representing the town at the centre of a major child exploitation case has said.

Investigation launched after three die in Bolton house fire

An inquiry is under way after three people died in a house fire.

Police say they have arrested a serving British soldier after a 'suspicious device' was found at a home in Salford

Terror police arrest British soldier after 'nail bomb' found at house in Salford

'Suspicious device' found alongside 'potentially inflammatory' literature, police say

Stealing food: one of a ‘disturbing trend’ of crimes on the rise

Shoplifting by people desperate for food is one of several categories of crime that are on the rise, according to provisional figures.

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Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
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Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
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Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental overdose in 2007
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'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
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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
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home