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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

Hold on tight!

Life and Style
Divers at Bouldnor Cliff underwater site in the Solent off the Isle of Wight, where the silt sample containing the einkorn DNA was found
life
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
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people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower