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Revelling in the latest growth figures, George Osborne lifted Balls-baiting to a new plane. He was asked an unusually long list of super-friendly questions by euphoric Tory backbenchers. Ones that in the secret dreams of the MPs involved, invite the answer: “Yes. My honourable friend has absolutely hit the nail on the head with that spiffing question correctly mentioning our long-term economic plan, allowing me to lay into the Opposition, and qualifying him for early promotion.”

This year ’s British Matchplay Scrabble Championships were played out over the three days of the Bank Holiday weekend

In Scrabble, 'immortal' is the winning word, but what is the most beautiful?

Kevin McMahon, a trainee physics teacher, was yesterday crowned at the best Scrabble player in the UK, with the word "immortal" helping clinch victory in the final.

Police investigate 'unexplained' death at V Festival

Police are investigating the “unexplained” death of a 20-year-old man at this year's V Festival.

Education Secretary Michael Gove who has approved the sale of over 20 school playing fields

London 2012: Legacy uncertain as school playing fields sold off

The legacy of the London 2012 Games has been thrown into doubt after figures reveal that Education Secretary Michael Gove has approved the sale of over 20 school playing fields since the coalition government has been in power.

Legionnaires' patient dies at University Hospital of North Staffordshire

A man in his 70s who was being treated for Legionnaires' disease following a recent outbreak has died, the Health Protection Agency said.

Man arrested after three home explosions in Staffordshire

A man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after explosions at three homes.

Charlotte Dujardin in action in Greenwich

Equestrian: Charlotte Dujardin puts Great Britain in gold medal position in dressage

Charlotte Dujardin continued her remarkable rise to the top of world dressage today by putting Great Britain in team gold medal position and smashing an Olympic record.

Gold-winning medallist Tim Baillie tried to sing the national anthem when he was presented with his medal but did not learn the words for fear of jinxing the result

Slalom Canoeing: Team GB's gold medal winner Tim Baillie did not learn national anthem in case of jinxing win

Gold-winning medallist Tim Baillie says he did not learn the words to the British national anthem because he thought it might jinx his performance.

Patient dies in Stoke-on-Trent Legionnaires' outbreak

One of the patients affected by a Legionnaires' disease outbreak has died in hospital, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) said today.

15 in Staffordshire hospital with Legionnaires' Disease

A total of 15 people are being treated in hospital after an outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease.

Two more cases of Legionnaires' disease

Two more cases of Legionnaires' disease have been confirmed in Stoke-on-Trent, where one patient is in a critical condition.

Two more cases of Legionnaires' Disease confirmed

Two more cases of Legionnaires' Disease have been confirmed in a city outbreak and one patient is in a critical condition.

Trio jailed for burying puppies alive in their garden

Three dog breeders were jailed today after two newborn puppies were found buried alive in their garden.

The £3m Hoard was found by a man with a metal detector

Countyfile: Staffordshire

There's Anglo-Saxon gold in them there fields

Howard Jacobson: 'Victory is ours,' declared the Mujahideen. 'Today, it's the M6. Tomorrow, the A6144!'

I don’t think 17 police cars were too many. If anything, I’d have liked a dozen more, and a helicopter

Walking Home, By Simon Armitage

Poetry, and poverty, in motion

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War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?