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.

Amir Khan lands a punch on Carlos Molina

Boxing: All goes according to plan in latest Amir Khan adventure

Flawless matchmaking helps relationship with new trainer Hunter get off to a promising start

Editorial: Obama's chance to act on guns

The President has shown that he can make progress through compromise

Boxing day murderer 'Psycho' Keiran Stapleton attacks prison chaplain

A murderer who labelled himself “Psycho” after murdering an Indian student in the street has tried to attack a prison chaplain.

Council set to axe another 900 jobs

Up to 900 full-time posts are set to be axed at a city council less than two years after 2,000 jobs were cut.

Rescued: The scene in Somerset yesterday

Flood risk rises as more heavy rain is forecast

Storms expected to carry on into this week

Alec Bell, 66, Philosophy: “There is a gap between the generations now and adult education seems to have ceased to exist. I will be teaching philosophy from January. I will initially offer two-hour introductory lessons related to the basics: how we feel about life, and things like that.”

Meet the Amazings! Keeping knowledge alive

Older people with special skills are teaching the younger generation via an online marketplace

Sir Cyril Smith, flanked by Alan Beith (left) and Paddy Ashdown, in
the Commons, where he spent 20 years as the outspoken MP for his home town Rochdale

Sir Cyril Smith sex abuse allegations: Police to reinvestigate claims former Liberal Democrat MP molested young boys

Greater Manchester Police said it would be investigating allegations that Smith molested boys at a hostel from 1974 onwards, while Lancashire Police said it will investigate claims before 1974

Shafilea Ahmed's parents have been convicted of killing her

Shafilea Ahmed's sister avoids jail after judge describes “extraordinary and terrifying story” as a “case for mercy”

The sister of honour killing victim Shafilea Ahmed was spared jail today when she was given a 12-month suspended sentence for organising a robbery at her parents' house.

Eric Taplin

Eric Taplin: Pioneering historian of dock labour

No social historian of 19th-century Britain and no expert of labour history in port cities will fail to have read Eric Taplin's pathbreaking 1986 work The Docker's Union: a study of the National Union of Dock Labourers 1889-1922. It shifted the focus of British labour history from artisan elites and factory workers to the casual labour forces and labour markets that dominated Britain's major cities after the industrial revolution. Such workers had until then failed to find their historian.

Man's body found in Lancashire after 2005 murder

Police have found a body in the hunt for a man whose disappearance seven years ago resulted in his girlfriend's ex-husband being jailed for murder.

Jimmy Savile's former flatmate Ray Teret released on bail

Jimmy Savile's former flatmate and chauffeur was released on bail today after he was arrested over historic abuse allegations.

Accrington Stanley appoint Leam Richardson as manager

Accrington have appointed Leam Richardson as their new manager.

Javier Hernandez’s spectacular diving header put United back on track

United are shaken but not stirred

Since lifting the European Cup in Moscow four years ago, Manchester United have had an awful lot of trouble with teams beginning with B. They have been knocked out of the competition in successive seasons by Barcelona (twice), Bayern Munich and Basle – and last night they came close to embarrassment against Braga.

Sir Norman Bettison, West Yorkshire's chief constable, faces call to resign

Bettison 'must go now' over Hillsborough says former police authority head

West Yorkshire Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison should stand down now, according to the man who chaired his police authority until a fortnight ago.

Pair quizzed over house-fire deaths in North Wales as police name victims

Police have named a woman and two young children who died in a house fire as they continue to question their neighbours on suspicion of murder.

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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
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Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
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Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick