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Westminster Outlook Michael Fallon is Westminster's – and the world's – first land-dwelling, four-limbed octopus, his tentacles wrapped around Whitehall, circular suckers incapable of being removed from powerful ministries of state.

65,000 towels... 8 trampolines... Olympic organisers go shopping

British businesses battle for contracts worth £1.7bn to kit out the 2012 Games

Drive for state control 'punishes' universities

Outgoing standards chief warns blueprint from MPs is like 'Spanish Inquisition'

Berbatov battles to win Old Trafford's affection

Manchester United 2 Blackburn Rovers 0

Brown's Baroness emerges from the shadows

Baroness Cathy Ashton is one of the lowest-profile ministers to have served in Gordon Brown's Cabinet. But she has impressed observers since moving to Brussels last year to replace Peter Mandelson as Trade Commissioner.

Simon Carr: Is Party support draining from a deflated PM?

The Sketch

It’s not so much a premiership as a medical condition. The poor fellow is sick. Look at him, he’s ill. It’s a self-inflicted illness but nonetheless deserving of sympathy. He was prepared to take the risk, he fought to take it, now he suffers the consequence of a wasting illness that saps his strength, his energy, his pleasure in life. He’s a brave heart, he’s a fighter, but the power of positive thinking is just prolonging the agony.

Postal workers fear 'revenge' plan

The postal workers leader today accused Royal Mail of having a "cynical" plan to sideline the union involved in a bitter dispute over jobs and pay as the company braces itself for a national strike.

Labour conference diary: Ainsworth listens to soldier's tale

"As I sit here, my legs are aching," Stuart Trow said. "I've got a bullet in my buttock and that's not comfortable."

King courtier: Lord Mandelson

He's made the most spectacular comeback in modern politics and kept his old rival in post. No wonder the First Secretary is on the march

Mandelson should face MPs, says Speaker

Lord Mandelson should be forced to face questions from MPs because of his growing influence over government policy, the Commons Speaker, John Bercow, has said.

Derek Simpson: With friends like these, Gordon Brown has no need of enemies

Jane Merrick meets the joint leader of Unite, ahead of the TUC conference in Liverpool

Mandy leaves hospital all smiles

Peter Mandelson left hospital in good spirits yesterday after undergoing an operation for an enlarged prostate gland.

Brown must step down this summer, says Labour donor

PM who 'seems to slip on every banana skin' should give new leader time to settle in before next election

Leading article: An unsatisfactory public appointment

Three years ago the Government decided to merge the old Commission for Racial Equality, the Disability Rights Commission and the Equal Opportunities Commission in a brand new body, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. The argument was that this quango would inaugurate a fresh era of opportunity for the dispossessed and marginalised. Three years later, that dream lies in tatters as the body's accounts have been rejected by the National Audit Office, six of its commissioners have resigned and its chairman, Trevor Phillips, is widely criticised as not up to the job.

Diane Abbott: Stop talking. Start delivering...

Black people have watched Phillips' interventions with mounting dismay

Mandelson admits Labour will make 'a decade of cuts'

Lord Mandelson has admitted that Britain faces a decade of public spending cuts even if Labour wins the next election.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue