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.

Police investigate 'unexplained' deaths of woman in child in Troedyrhiw house

The deaths of two people found in a house in a valley community are being treated as “unexplained,” police said.

Jack Nowell scores the try that launched England’s dramatic second-half fightback

England juniors conquer world with win over Wales

England Under-20s became Junior World Champions on Sunday for the first time after fighting back from a 12-point half-time deficit to defeat Wales Under-20s 23-15 in Vannes, France. It was a double first for England who also became the first team from the northern hemisphere to win the tournament.

Anger at Monmouthshire council limits on rubbish bags

Plans by a Welsh council to restrict the amount of rubbish to be collected to two sacks per fortnight have provoked anger, with more than 1,000 people signing a petition opposing the limit.

Diwali Celebrations in Leicester

Dundee, Hull, Leicester or Swansea Bay? Dylan Thomas takes on Philip Larkin in a battle to become City of Culture

Dundee, Hull, Leicester and Swansea Bay have been named as the four cities left in the running to become the UK’s next City Of Culture. They are competing to receive the title for 2017, following this year’s chosen city, Londonderry.

The cover of Vice magazine's controversial 'fiction issue'

The media must inform about suicide, while avoiding excessive details about the method

Reporting on suicide is extremely difficult, but the Vice feature is an example of glamorising suicide - and there wasn't even a news hook

Simon Calder: Sleep(er) your way around the world

The man who pays his way

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup

Michael Laudrup insists he will stay despite breakdown in relationship between his agent and Swansea

There have been disagreements over the club's transfer policy

Carmel Napier called for a government re-think on the powers of the PCCs

Gwent's chief constable, Carmel Napier, retires after series of spats with her elected police commissioner, Ian Johnston

Gwent's chief constable retired after she was given an ultimatum to leave or face the push after a series of spats with her elected police commissioner.

Michael Laudrup

Michael Laudrup allays Swansea exit fears following row over transfers

The Dane was reportedly close to an exit from the Liberty Stadium

Former British policewoman charged with burglary judged 'too drunk' to intend to steal

A jury has found a former British policewoman not guilty of stealing a mobile phone, after deciding she was too drunk to know what she was doing.

Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins is standing trial on charges of baby rape and 22 other sex offences in November.

Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins to stand trial on baby rape and 22 sex offence charges in November

Rock singer Ian Watkins will stand trial accused of baby rape and a total of 22 other sex offences at the end of the year.

Cardiff hit-and-run killer detained in secure hospital indefinitely

A paranoid schizophrenic who ran down and killed a mother of three in a hit-and-run frenzy aimed at killing many more has been detained in a secure hospital indefinitely.

Karina Menzies, who was killed in Cardiff

Cardiff hit-and-run: Paranoid schizophrenic Matthew Tvrdon went on 'journey of mayhem'

Paranoid schizophrenic Matthew Tvrdon, 31, admitted the manslaughter of Karina Menzies through diminished responsibility last month

‘Lostprophets’ vocalist Ian Watkins

Lostprophets singer Ian Watkins denies child rape charges

Rock singer Ian Watkins has appeared in court to deny almost two dozen sex offence charges including two of raping a baby.

Mark Bridger leaves Mold Crown Court

April Jones murder trial: Mark Bridger begins whole life sentence

April’s mother said she would ‘live with the guilt’ of letting her daughter go out for the rest of her life

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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
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
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