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.

Leighton Baines could receive a new contract as reward for his loyalty to Everton over Manchester United pursuit

United wanted England star to hand in transfer request to force a move to Old Trafford but 28-year-old was still at Goodison Park when the transfer window closed

Manchester robbery: Pensioner, 87, dies in hospital after being beaten in his home

Frank Worsley was woken up by an intruder who broke into his house

Housing staff ‘may be target of bedroom tax protests’

Staff at a housing association have been warned against wearing their uniforms outside working hours for fear of being attacked by anti-bedroom tax protesters.

Ashes 2013: Alastair Cook confident Kevin Pietersen will be fit for third Test

Calf complaint has made batsman a doubt

Shinji Kagawa shakes hands with his manager Jurgen Klopp during his time at Borussia Dortmund

Transfer news: Manchester United forward Shinji Kagawa rejected chance to re-join Borussia Dortmund reveals Jurgen Klopp

Kagawa has spoken about a desire to return to Dortmund one day but for now his focus is on United

Michael Cope was arrested on Friday night after police were called to an address in Leigh, Greater Manchester

Fugitive Michael Cope charged with murder of ex-girlfriend Linzi Ashton

A wanted man who handed himself in after nearly a month on the run has been charged with the murder of his ex-girlfriend.

Ashes 2013: Kevin Pietersen still doubtful for Old Trafford Test

England are continuing their anxious wait over Kevin Pietersen’s fitness for the third Test in the Ashes series.

Lightning at Poole Harbour; violent thunderstorms are expected over weekend getaway

Weather warning: Britain braces itself for worst weekend of the year to be on the roads

Severe weather warning as 'torrential rain' disrupts holiday getaway traffic for millions

Two teenage girls arrested in connection with Manchester blaze that killed fireman Stephen Hunt

Firefighter Stephen Hunt was part of a team responding to a fire at Paul's Hair World in Oldham Street

Man is arrested in connection with assisting an offender by police looking for Michael Cope

Michael Cope is wanted by Greater Manchester Police in connection with the murder of mother-of-two Linzi Ashton

Joan Smith: 'Until Hall suddenly changed his plea to guilty, he lied through his teeth about his assaults on girls'

BBC veteran Stuart Hall to be sentenced for sex assaults

Hall initially denied the allegations as 'pernicious, callous, cruel and above all spurious'

Zak Hardaker: I want Tomkins' position

Zak Hardaker, who will revert to full-back tonight for Leeds in their rearranged Super League match against Widnes, has insisted he will fight for a starting full-back place for England with the autumn World Cup on the horizon.

England captain Kevin Sinfield attempts to break the tackle of Sia Soliola

England defeat Exiles but fears over captain Kevin Sinfield

Steve McNamara's side record 30-10 victory but both Sinfield and Gareth Ellis leave with nasty looking injuries

Essex v Lancashire match report: Essex skittled for just 20 on day of humiliation

Essex 273 & 20 (Mickleburgh 10; Chapple 5-9); Lancashire 398 (Katich 122; Masters); 4-72 Lancashire win by an innings and 105 runs

Owen Coyle

Wigan confirm Owen Coyle will succeed Roberto Martinez after the former Bolton manager beats Steve McLaren to the post

The Scot returns to management following his dismissal by Bolton last year

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Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness