Ministers set to act over smoking

Plain cigarette packs 'on the way' for UK

Ministers could announce plans to introduce plain packets for cigarettes later this year, reports suggest.

Lucky Strike makes BAT a winner

Booming sales of Lucky Strike in western Europe and Latin America were behind an 8 per cent rise in operating profits at the cigarette giant British American Tobacco.

President Vladimir Putin signed an anti-smoking bill into law yesterday

Putin signs law banning smoking in public places

President Vladimir Putin signed an anti-smoking bill into law today that looks set to transform Russian public life. The legislation will see smoking outlawed in government buildings and other public institutions from this summer, and in all restaurants, bars and cafes from next year.

The gruesome cigarette packaging that could become a design classic

The Design Museum in London includes controversial cigarette packaging in list of possible 'Designs of the Year 2013'

Jamie Heaton, two, died in the explosion in Buckley Street, Oldham, last year caused by Andrew Partington

The accidental revenge of a jilted boyfriend that killed a two-year-old boy

Andrew Partington cut the gas pipes in his Oldham home after his girlfriend left with their children

John Poole: chemist, scholar and librarian

Dr John Poole: Highly valued Commons librarian

I have never understood why MPs require research assistants (I never had one, nor claimed for one). The House of Commons Library has among its staff many scholars who will supply objective information, often very promptly. Working among gifted contemporaries covering other fields was Dr John Poole, who from 1966 until his retirement in 1990 was Head of the Science section of the Library. Indeed, he was the founding father of the provision of serious scientific fact to Parliament.

Nick Goodway: You can still bank on Imps as Osborne's taxes go up in black market smoke

Two distinct messages come out of Imperial Tobacco's latest trading update. The first is that cash-strapped smokers are turning to the black market in numbers probably not seen since the Second World War.

Editorial: A welcome unintended consequence

The primary motivation behind the ban on smoking, which was introduced in July 2007, was the desire to protect bar staff and the like from the pernicious effects of their customers' carcinogenic habits. Only legislative naysayers considered the effect on the nation's children, and only then to warn that parents unable to smoke elsewhere would puff away more heartily than ever at home.

How 'Mr Marlboro' Mokhtar Belmokhtar's reign of terror struck fear into the heart of Mali

Kim Sengupta meets the ordinary people with first-hand knowledge of the one-eyed warlord

Call from cross-party peers to legalise 'low-risk' drugs

Some drugs should be decriminalised with the least harmful substances regulated and sold in shops, a cross-party group of peers recommends today in a report set to reignite the legalisation debate.

Poll: As cigarettes go up to $20 a pack in Australia, how much would you pay?

The Australian government have announced a plan of tax increases which will see the price of a standard packet of 20 cigarettes rise to over $20 (£13) in the next 5 years.

China publishes a plan to reduce smoking

China publishes its anti-smoking plan

China on Friday published a plan to reduce the world's largest population of smokers as part of a 2005 treaty, without implementing recommendations such as warning labels that include photos of rotten teeth and diseased lungs.

Soldier with post traumatic stress disorder took two hostages at knifepoint

A soldier suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after a tour of duty in Afghanistan held two members of his unit hostage, beating and threatening to kill them before attempting to kidnap them, a court martial heard.

Cigarette companies ordered to apologise, but is junk food the new tobacco?

Pointing the finger of blame at others for our poor health and obesity isn't acceptable.

Postcard from... Jerusalem

A few puffs during a Hebrew production of David Mamet's The Old Neighbourhood has extinguished theatrical smoking in Israel for ever.

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Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine