Move to raise motorway limit to 80mph 'will boost economy'

Motorway speed limits could be raised to 80mph and those on city and town roads be reduced, with the decision on restrictions being made as much on cost as on safety. The Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, said yesterday that decisive factors could include the economic benefits of faster travel as well as environmental concerns.

Julie Burchill: Smug cyclists and yummy mummies are driving me to pavement rage

When I was a volunteer at a home for the blind a couple of years back (I quit when my lameness became so obvious that one day Betty, a lady in her eighties, said very sweetly "Julie, love, are you leading us or are we leading you?"), I became aware for the first time what a jungle it is out there. I had always ambled through life, never suffering from agoraphobia, panic attacks or any of the ills the urban mind is prey to, short-sighted and somewhat blissed out, convinced that the streets were not mean at all but rather concrete canyons of fun where adventure awaited at every avenue. It helped that I could take taxis everywhere, of course, and that I live in Brighton, and that I haven't had to leave my lair to work since I was 19 years old.

Town cleared over bomb report

Part of a town centre was evacuated today after a man brought what was believed to be a Second World War bomb to a police station.

More drivers in train near-misses

The number of motorists involved in near-misses with trains at level crossings increased by 15% in 2010.

'Worrying' rise in cyclist accidents

Deaths and injuries among cyclists are increasing at a "worrying" rate, a charity claimed today as new figures revealed a rise in casualties.

How to make a movie with a paintbrush

Want to make a film but don’t have the capital? Ian Burrell meets the man who funded his debut by painting and decorating

Woman killed as floods return to Australia

Flash floods swept through a north-eastern Australian community today, killing one woman, trapping others in cars and leaving some clinging to trees as relentless rains brought more misery to a region battling its worst flooding in decades.

DJ Taylor: Artfully, those pesky motorists dodge the bullet once more

Its been a good week for car-owners, Romeo Beckham, and Charles Dickens. But Mark Twain has taken a politically correct battering (if that's possible ...)

Two killed in city centre after crash

Two people have died after being struck by a car in a city centre.

Mother and son 'hacked to death with axe'

A mother and son were hacked to death in their own home by a man neighbours said was wielding an axe.

Thaw warms up shivering Britons

The whole country was enjoying a thaw today with all parts above freezing for the first time since the cold spell struck last month.

Album: Incarnations, With All Due Respect (Lovemonk)

Retro-soul trio Incarnations talk a good game - their press release namechecks Steely Dan, CSNY, Doobies, Stylistics and Delfonics - but this debut album lacks the most essential prerequisite, a batch of killer songs.

Charles Nevin: Time for the Duke to grapple with Gripple

Start the Week

Terry Farrell gets job of giving mid-London back to pedestrians

Sir Terry Farrell is to create a blueprint for revitalising London's Holborn, Bloomsbury and St Giles districts in an attempt to better reflect their position at the heart of the capital city.

Further talks in firefighters dispute

Firefighters were in talks with their brigade today following a day of strike action in which three picketers were hurt when they were hit by vehicles.

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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Prices correct as of 19 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