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.

Mark Bridger says he he accidentally killed April Jones

April Jones trial: Evidence against Mark Bridger is 'overwhelming', court hears

Prosecutor says case 'stands strongly and compellingly' in closing speech

Bluebells are usually one of the first indications that spring is on the way

Kate Humble: Signs of spring are everywhere, even in the chill

Spring has been a long time coming this year, a feeling exacerbated, I suspect, by the fact that we have barely seen the sun since last March. Remember last year? Spring made a tentative start in January and by the end of March the bluebells were out, most of us had had at least one barbecue and we were looking forward to a long hot summer. Then April came, and with it, the rain, which didn't stop.

48 rescued as tourist boat runs aground of Welsh coast

Forty eight people have been rescued from a passenger boat after it hit a rock on a Welsh island this afternoon, coastguards said.

MMR vaccination up-take remains too low among the worst-hit 10 to 18 age group

50,000 MMR vaccinations so far in battle to halt Welsh measles epidemic

But up-take remains too low among the worst-hit 10 to 18 age group

Christian Jolley of Newport County celebrates scoring a goal during the Blue Square Bet Premier Conference Play-off Final

Blue Square Premier: Newport back after 25 years

Newport County will return to the Football League after a 25-year absence after two dramatic late goals gave them victory over Welsh rivals Wrexham at Wembley.

Scott Sinclair

After a £6.2m move and just three starts, Scott Sinclair could leave Manchester City

Manager Roberto Mancini drops hint that the former Swansea player's future could lie away from the Etihad

Five-year-old April was last seen playing out on her bike close to her home in Machynlleth, mid Wales, on the evening of October 1

Police call off the search for missing April Jones

The search - one of the largest in UK history - was due to end this month

Measles could hit two million children

As many as two million schoolchildren are susceptible to measles due to their lack of the MMR vaccine scare, a leading health expert has warned.

Liberty Stadium

Swansea seek to raise capacity at Liberty Stadium

Swansea City have announced plans to increase the capacity of their Liberty Stadium by more than 12,000 seats in another reflection of the boom in Welsh football.

Margaret Thatcher funeral: Welsh miners pay respect despite anger towards the former Tory prime minister

Traditional Welsh respect for the dead has ensured that few have an appetite for public protest

An MMR jab is administered

Thousands of Swansea children still to have MMR jab as fears over scale of epidemic worsen

Health Secretary urges parents whose children aren't vaccinated to take action

Woman in hospital after home attack by American bulldog

A dog which savaged a woman has now been destroyed, police have confirmed.

Swansea measles outbreak: Confirmed cases rise to nearly 700

A big increase in measles cases has prompted health bosses to renew a plea for unvaccinated people to get their MMR jabs immediately.

Established campaigner Alison Young put in a steely performance in the Laser Radial event

Seven Palma World Cup golds for British sailors

Palma World Cup golds for Alison Young and Giles Scott topped the seven-medal haul for Britain’s sailors at the conclusion of the Princess Sofia Trophy in Mallorca yesterday.

Jacqueline Thompson: blogger who waged 'campaign of harassment' against council chief ordered to pay £25,000 damages

A blogger who waged an “unlawful campaign of harassment, defamation and intimidation” against a council chief executive has been ordered to pay him £25,000 libel damages.

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Barn owls are among species that could be affected
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Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
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The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
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After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
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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
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Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
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
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
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
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
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