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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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Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style