News Council tax set to rise by as much as five per cent

The amount paid by households towards the cost of policing looks set to rise by up to five per cent this year as the Government faces a potential show down with its flagship Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) who are demanding above inflation increases in council tax to combat swingeing budget cuts.

Student jailed for Muamba tweet loses appeal

A student who mocked soccer star Fabrice Muamba on Twitter after he collapsed with a heart attack lost his appeal against a 56-day jail term today.

Firefighters feel the heat as dry weather brings rise in wildfires

A fire brigade chief claims wildfires are becoming more common earlier in the year in the UK, as services across the country fight to control blazes.

South Wales man arrested over Muamba tweets

A man has been arrested after allegedly making racist remarks on Twitter relating to critically ill soccer star Fabrice Muamba.

Golden day: Tony McCoy and Jonjo O'Neill with Synchronised and the Gold Cup

Another day, another race to win for McCoy

After the sweet fruit-packed jam of a Cheltenham Gold Cup win, it was back to bread and butter yesterday for the human heroes, at least, of the hour. Of those involved on Friday, the horse, Synchronised, had by far the easiest time; after an hour or so of pats and adulation at Jackdaws Castle stables during the morning, he went off to mooch round his paddock and relax until teatime.

How We Met: Sarah Hall & Owen Sheers

'We swim in the Cam, but only for 30 seconds, otherwise we'd go blue'

Wales rugby captain Sam Warburton (far left), world champion boxer Nathan Cleverly (centre) and Cardiff City captain Mark Hudson all hope to taste victory this weekend

Cardiff chasing a triple crown

Wales in rugby and Cleverly in the ring tomorrow – but they really will be singing in the Valleys if the Bluebirds can beat mighty Liverpool on Sunday, writes James Corrigan

Wales rugby captain Sam Warburton (far left), world champion boxer Nathan Cleverly (centre) and Cardiff City captain Mark Hudson all hope to taste victory this weekend

Boxing. Rugby. Football: Cardiff chasing a 'Triple Crown'

Wales in the rugby and Cleverly in the ring – but they really will be singing in the Valleys if the Bluebirds can beat Liverpool

Pregnant girl's murderer jailed for 35 years

A former nightclub bouncer has been jailed for a minimum of 35 years for murdering a pregnant teenager two weeks before she was due to give birth.

Murdered teenage mother-to-be Nikitta Grender

35 years for Nikitta Grender's killer

A former nightclub bouncer was jailed for at least 35 years today for the rape and murder of heavily-pregnant teenager Nikitta Grender.

IPCC to investigate 'lost' Cardiff Three papers

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is to investigate whether officers ordered the destruction of documents which caused the collapse of a multimillion-pound police corruption trial.

Holt-led Norwich rally leaves Swans flapping

Swansea City 2 Norwich City 3

Mental illness group goes into administration

St Luke's Healthcare, which treatsand looks after adults and adolescents with mental health problems and brain injuries, has gone into administration.

Ice breaker: On-loan Gylfi Sigurdsson celebrates scoring Swansea’s first goal

Cool Sigurdsson keeps Swansea blazing away

West Bromwich Albion 1 Swansea City 2

Former Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Prescott

Diary: Will nobody step up and be Cameron's local copper?

The election of Police and Crime Commissioners is "at the heart of the Government's plan to cut crime", we have been told. So the Government will be pleased to see some big names showing an interest in running for the elections, scheduled for 15 November, even if they are not Conservatives.

Bouncer 'murdered teenager'

A nightclub bouncer stabbed his cousin's pregnant girlfriend to death after raping her, a jury heard.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'