£18m funding to tackle knife crime

More than £18 million will be spent on tackling crimes involving knives, guns and gangs over the next two years, Home Secretary Theresa May said today.

Investment Column: WH Smith looks good for canny shoppers

Cookson; System C Healthcare

Out of the spaceship – and into a sandpit

More than 40 years after Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the surface of the moon, the multinational crew of Russia's Mars 500 experiment will finally leave their spaceship in the coming weeks, and venture out – into an adjacent sandpit.

Speaker reveals he is a supporter of hunting ban

Commons Speaker John Bercow has risked further angering Tory MPs by revealing that he is a supporter of the hunting ban.

Sara Wheeler: Why is Russia's Arctic closed to visitors? Who is hiding what?

I worry about Russian transparency when it comes to safety standards

Clear out the clutter: How to put your house in order

The tree's come down and the decorations are back in the loft, but your home is still as full as ever...

NHS 'wasting £1 billion a year on supplies'

The NHS is wasting more than £1 billion of taxpayers' money a year as managers spend vastly differing amounts on the same supplies, the head of a government-backed healthcare efficiency drive claimed today.

Elisabeth Beresford: Children's author who created the Wombles

Elisabeth Beresford was inspired to create the Wombles by her daughter's mispronunciation during a Boxing Day romp across Wimbledon Common.

The ten best stationery items

Whether it’s a thank-you card to Auntie Joan or an RSVP for a New Year’s Eve bash, you’ll need some neat notelets to send your seasonal messages...

Click on the image on the right to launch the gallery

Tributes paid to 347th UK fatality in Afghanistan

The latest British soldier to die in Afghanistan was named yesterday by the Ministry of Defence as Corporal Steven Dunn of 216 Parachute Signal Squadron, Royal Corps of Signals.

Minor British Institutions: The office Christmas party

The roots of the Office Xmas Party, you won't be surprised to learn, are pagan. It's a celebration of the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun (25 December, as it happened), of the old Yule, always observed most enthusiastically in these islands, and uninterrupted by the coming of Christianity.

'Secretly' resolved MP expenses cases revealed

Details of dozens of complaints against MPs that have been "secretly" resolved over recent years were finally published today.

Magnificent men in their fantasy machines

Andrew Roberts explores our long and dubious relationship with vehicle accessories
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform