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At 8.30am on 13 July, the colliery bands of Durham began their march towards the city's market place. The miners' banners went with them, signposts to the past, a visible display of pride in the region's history. From there followed a slow march towards the County Hotel on Old Elvet. The bands played, the march went on to the racecourse, and the banners were strapped to the surrounding fences.

Body piercing craze 'threatens children'

MINISTERS ARE being urged to introduce guidelines to prevent children having their bodies pierced without their parents' consent.

Local Government Guide: South Tyneside - One of the best, against the odds ...

LAST year a "geography of misery" survey by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation named South Tyneside as the eighth worst place to live in the country, just below in the innerLondon district of Lambeth. Now its council has come top of the Independent on Sunday's local authority league tables, writes Paul Lashmar.

My Favourite Restaurant; Top of the trattorias

MARGARET BARBOUR, chairman of South Shields-based J Barbour & Sons, makers of the eponymous waxed jackets, has to travel to Bologna for a meal at her favourite restaurant, the traditional, family-run Antica Trattoria Da Sandro al Navile.

Comedy: He really is (sigh) a very punny bloke

John Hegley Almeida, N1

Pensioner killed delivering gifts

AN ELDERLY woman was killed as she delivered presents yesterday - one of several Christmas Day tragedies around the country.

Travel Britain: High jinx on the Roman frontier

Good food, parties and flourishing love lives - Hadrian's Wall wasn't such a bad posting for centurions.

Baby less than a foot long wins four-month battle to survive

ZOE McDOUGALL was shorter than a classroom ruler and lighter than a bag of sugarwhen she was born 15 weeks prematurely. Now the child, who weighed 425g (15oz) and was 30cm (11.5in) long, is in line to become one of the smallest surviving babies in the world.

Pounding for Blair on economy

Fury at talk of 'acceptable' job losses in North

Athletics: O'Sullivan wins in a canter

APPROACHING THE finish line in the BUPA Great North Run, Sonia O'Sullivan pulled off her gloves and threw them to the crowd braving the elements on the sea-front at South Shields. It could have been a symbolic gesture.

Hockey: Old Boys take control

OLD CRANLEIGHANS, last year's EH Cup giant-killers - only going out to the eventual winners, Cannock, in the quarter-finals - started tentatively in their first-round game at Hendon, going a goal down in the 25th minute to a well-worked penalty corner.

Travel: Tall story

On board the Swan, Sally Kindberg saw dolphins and whales and tuna, and learned the art of climbing into the top bunk

Union chief calls for MPC shake-up

THE CHANCELLOR of the Exchequer came under fresh pressure yesterday to dismiss "out of touch" economists from the Monetary Policy Committee and replace them with experts from "the real world".

Obituary: Dame Catherine Cookson

IN A refreshingly unbureaucratic way, Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council heads its official stationery with the legend "Catherine Cookson Country". Just as parts of Dorset are known as "Hardy Country", so areas of Tyneside and South Shields, between Gateshead and Newcastle, are established as ``Cookson Country''. Thousands invade the region annually to find the landmarks of Cookson's novels, which reflect the social scene at all levels in Northumberland and Tyneside, from the Industrial Revolution to the present day.

Athletics: McColgan seeks return to winning ways

Athletics

Education: Poor-scoring schools move up the league

More than twice as many schools as last year saw all their pupils achieve the scores expected of an 11-year-old in primary school league tables published today. Judith Judd, Education Editor, asks what the tables tell us about schools' performance.
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Independent Travel
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona from £629pp
Dubrovnik
Vietnam
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South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 12 December 2014
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m