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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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home