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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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'