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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.”

Woman jailed after torturing 15-year-old boy by forcing him to lick up his blood and drink his own urine

A woman who tortured a teenage boy by making him drink his own urine and lick up his blood has been sentenced to four years in prison.

The Rev Reginald Dean today

110 not out! Britain's oldest man

Emily Dugan meets Reverend Reginald Dean and hears him lament the decline of cricket

Norwich manager Chris Hughton hopes to upset his old club Spurs

Stoke are role models for aspiring teams says Norwich manager Chris Hughton

Norwich manager Chris Hughton insists Stoke are the perfect role model for any aspiring top-flight team like his own.

Council leader Mohammed Pervez

A year at the sharp end: How Stoke was cut to shreds

With one in four on benefits and a community relying on its council, how would a £36m spending cut work? David Nath spent a year in a place where the Big Society is still just an idea

Branston Pickle will be sold to a Japanese firm in a deal worth £92.5 million

The £90m pickle: Branston sold to Japan firm

One of the nation's favourite sandwich fillers, Branston Pickle, is to be sold to a Japanese firm in a deal worth £92.5 million.

Queen Mary’s will be taken over by a mental health foundation trust, Oxleas, and land sold off to pay the debts

One NHS trust in five is in bad financial trouble – and Department of Health is failing to plan for bankruptcies

Only urgent, radical action will prevent failures, warns Public Accounts Committee

An illustration of HS2

£1.3bn for those living on high-speed rail route is 'attempt to buy off critics'

Opponents of high-speed link between London and Birmingham condemn new compensation deal

Swedish Lapland Reindeer: 'neither like chicken, nor as gamey as I had imagined – there were hints, but only that'

On The Menu: Swedish Lapland reindeer; Llama snacks; Time Out's Eating & Drinking Awards; Qcumber; Vinoteca

This week I've been eating... Swedish Lapland reindeer

An illustration of HS2

Government promises a top-up for HS2 compensation payouts

Compensation measures for residents affected by the London-Birmingham HS2 high-speed rail project will go “significantly beyond statutory requirements”, the Government promised today.

Victory for families as dead Iraq soldiers' relatives told they can sue Government for negligence

The families of soldiers killed fighting in Iraq can now claim for damages for negligence against the Government, senior judges said in a 'landmark' ruling today.

A view of the facilities at St George's Park

An Oxbridge of football, for coaches rather than players

Over £100m has been spent on St George's Park but, Sam Wallace finds, the academy is about developing coaches, not players

England can have no more excuses for international failure

England skipper Steven Gerrard has admitted there will be no more excuses for national failure following the move into St George's Park.

The Potter's Hand By AN Wilson

An epic novel of the Wedgwood dynasty reveals the hearts of all but one man: Josiah himself

Dressage superstar Lee Pearson one step closer to being crowned Team GB’s greatest ever Paralympian

Dressage superstar Lee Pearson is one step closer to being crowned Great Britain’s greatest ever Paralympian after finishing top of his class in the Team test at Greenwich – but only just after what he dubbed a “rider error”.

<p>1. Legoland, Berkshire </p>
<p>Adult £44.40, child £35.40, legoland.co.uk</p>
<p>Legoland boasts 150 acres of parkland and 50-plus rides and attractions. Don't miss the Lego Star Wars Miniland Experience.</p>

The 10 Best theme parks

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent