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Conservative halve Labour’s poll lead

One burger, hold the carbon

Fast food is bad for us – and even worse for the planet. While chains are trying to make their meals ethical, they could do more, argues Sophie Morris

Contactless cards: the pros and cons of new payment technology

Smart cards which store data will make life easier, but are they safe?

The Fountain Fortnum & Mason, Piccadilly, London

Fortnum & Mason sells fare fit for a Queen. But there can be no such gushing praise for its Fountain restaurant

Attack of the mega-calorie popcorn

Film fans should be given more information about how many calories they consume during a trip to the cinema, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said today.

Hit & Run: Downhill in denim

Seth Wescott is a lot of things – a bit of a dude, pretty hot on a snowboard and, perhaps, the first man in Olympic history to win a gold medal while wearing jeans. At least they looked like jeans. The American competitor, who nabbed gold in Monday's thrilling snowboard cross final crossed the line in a pair of baggy ski pants with a faded denim finish, jeans pockets and rivets.

Britain's appetite for fast food is proving insatiable

The number of takeaway outlets in Britain's 10 largest cites rose by 8 per cent last year as cash-strapped customers looked for cheaper food options, reports James Thompson

Coffee shops beat the chill with rapid expansion

Consumers are helping big chains to defy the downturn. James Thompson reports

Queen of the high street: Mary Portas is hoping to help independents with her new retail masterclasses

She's best known for the BBC2 TV show Mary, Queen Of Shops, where she's revived flagging retail businesses, but Mary Portas wasn't always set for a career on the high street. In her youth, she had ambitions of being an actress and even gained a place at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Consuming Issues: Is your favourite restaurant dirty?

Marco Pierre White once likened the front of his star restaurant to heaven and its kitchen to hell. He was talking about the ordeal for staff (among them Gordon Ramsay), but there are other, unknown horrors happening behind the swing doors.

Hotbed warms the hearts of its smaller investors

Gary Robins' democratic firm is thriving, writes Simon Evans. And then there's the pole-dancing

Get into a real pickle: How to make delicious and guilt-free homemade preserves

Claire Soares learns how to cook for the store cupboard

How tuna conquered the world

We swallowed it in sandwiches. We scoffed it as sushi. Now it's swimming straight towards extinction. How did the global appetite for tuna become insatiable? Martin Hickman reports

John Walsh: ‘Perhaps it’s time a major newspaper investigated cleaners’ expenses’

Gordon Brown’s sister-in-law, Clare Brown, has gone into print to explain about l’affaire Madame Mopp. You may recall that, among the epoch-making revelations about MPs’ domestic expenses, the PM was revealed to have paid his brother Andrew several thousand quid for the shared use of a cleaner. Ms Brown explained how she extended her own cleaner’s workload so that her industrious in-law shouldn’t be overwhelmed by work. In doing so, she paints an unlovely picture of Gordon’s domestic routine (“Gordon was already the sort of guy who might have to change shirts twice a day, and who would have streams of people trudging through his flat, usually leaving dirty mugs and takeaway cartons in their wake”) in which the Prime Minister resembles a sweaty drug dealer.

Smoothie operators sell out to Coke

Have the founders of the Innocent label compromised their ethics by taking £30m from a corporate giant? Martin Hickman investigates

Skinny lattes all round – coffee shops cut the calorie count

Seven of the biggest chains are making their menus healthier by reducing fat and salt in snacks and drinks
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The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn