London mayoral rivals Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone clash on Tube strike

Rivals for the job of London Mayor clashed today over a planned strike by Tube workers amid fading hopes of averting the industrial action.

Lord Brett: Trade union leader and politician who fought for workers' rights around the world

Bill Brett was a large man in every sense. Tall, with a vibrant character and a reputation for forthrightness, he rose from being a railway clerk to lead the workers group at the International Labour Organisation, the UN body for employment standards, where he led the fight against the worst forms of child labour. Having spent years fighting for workers' rights, Brett, always an active member of the Labour Party, would go on to become a junior minister in Gordon Brown's Labour government, one of his responsibilities being to introduce the controversial identity card.

Brendan Barder spoke at the St Pancras Hospital picket in London

TUC set for first female general secretary as Brendan Barber announces retirement

The TUC looks set to appoint its first ever female general secretary after Brendan Barber announced that he is to retire from the role at the end of the year.

La Scala pays €6m more in taxes than it gets in public funding

La Scala chief's anger over lack of state funding for the arts

The artistic director of La Scala has warned that the celebrated opera house is "dangerously close" to privatisation, as public funding for the arts continues to dry up.

Tube maintenance workers to go on 72 hour strike

Workers who maintain and upgrade Tube lines on London Underground are to strike for 72 hours next week in a dispute over pensions and benefits.

Tube maintenance staff to go on strike, says RMT

Workers who maintain and upgrade Tube lines on London Underground have voted to go on strike in a dispute over pensions and benefits.

BBC journalists face strike ballot

Journalists and technicians working for the BBC in Wales are to be balloted for strikes in a row over the dismissal of a producer.

Phillip Blond: Electing the Lords would undermine its value

It would be the greatest extension of executive power since Charles I dissolved Parliament

Protect your pension and retirement plans from Osborne's tax grab

Careful planning can help alleviate the Chancellor's decision to freeze and then abolish the higher personal allowance for the over-65s. By Julian Knight

Deal ends Heathrow Express strike

A dispute over disciplinary action against two workers on the Heathrow Express has been resolved, ending the threat of fresh strikes.

Hundreds of London Underground maintenance workers are set to be balloted for strikes

'Strings' attached to Olympic pay offer says RMT

Union leaders today accused London Underground of attempting to impose new "strings" over an Olympic pay deal for Tube staff after talks collapsed.

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe

Guilty – of watching a film on the Arab Spring in Mugabe's Zimbabwe

Six activists fear long jail sentences for alleged attempt to inspire uprising. Alex Duval Smith reports in Harare

Heathrow Express workers to strike

Workers on the Heathrow Express are to stage a fresh wave of strikes in a continuing dispute over disciplinary action against two rail workers.

Shivered, Southwark Playhouse, London

When some artists affect to say the unsayable, the result is simply unspeakable. To listen to some folk, you might run away with the idea that Philip Ridley - renaissance man of the East End and master of the sawn-off baroque - is just a sensationalising miserabilist out to exploit and maximise everything that is morally and viscerally gross and triple-X rated.

Eric Ollerenshaw said that Conservatives were not seen as 'being like one of us' in the North

Top Tory: Our party is white, posh, male and far too Southern

Party 'must address image in the North'

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The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor