Cameron dismisses 'abandon the north' call

Tory leader David Cameron today branded a report by a Conservative-leaning think tank which suggested people should abandon northern cities as "complete rubbish".

Buildings destroyed after rate relief is abolished

Some landlords are already demolishing buildings, as the financial pain of the Government's removal of business rate relief on empty commercial property hits home.

Cities in North doomed, says favourite Tory think-tank

Struggling northern cities will never be able to regenerate and should be given up, a Tory think-tank with close links to David Cameron concludes today.

Tories call for review of standards over 'cheating' at universities

An urgent investigation should be carried out into the system for monitoring degree standards in the wake of The Independent's revelations that lecturers were being forced to turn a blind eye to cheating, the Conservatives' universities spokesman said yesterday.

Nigel Morris: A result that puts Cameron on course for Downing Street

The Tories claimed early today that they were on course to evict Gordon Brown from power after they won a steady series of local election victories across England.

You write the reviews: Simon Armitage, Art Gallery, Huddersfield

The poet, playwright and novelist Simon Armitage looked relaxed as he waited to be introduced to a full house in Huddersfield Art Gallery; born in the town, the 44-year-old was tonight a local boy made good. Clearly, the youthful-looking Armitage of 2008 is an experienced performer. Here, he was in the best sense artful, experimental and yet at ease in his own skin in front of an audience of mainly literary professionals, who were confident of their own tastes and standards. Light entertainment was provided by a series of anecdotes relating to the writing of a recent translation of the Middle English poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

Pet's Corner: How do I help my dog release his pent-up energy?

I have an 8 week-old labradoodle puppy. He is full of mischief. I was wondering how long can I walk him for? Is there any other way of releasing his pent up energy? Thomas Hill, Sunderland

Plans to get every young child speaking a foreign language are on track

Young children may be receptive to languages, but until last year, language teaching in primary schools was a matter of luck. The right head and the right teachers meant that some schools were teaching French, German and Spanish, but, for most, languages were something to be left to GCSEs.

School admissions: How to appeal against a decision

If the estimates are correct, there will be more than 100,000 disappointed parents today who have not got their child into their first choice secondary school.

Preview: Whispering In The Leaves, Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, Sunderland

It's time to get four to the forest floor

Live Reviews: Peter and the Wolf

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Searching for the big-race winner: Just pick a name that will look right on the roll of honour

It is frequently stated that a good horse never has a bad name, particularly a Derby winner. A glance down the Blue Riband roll of honour shows this to be not entirely true - among 18th and 19th century heroes Waxy, Lapdog, Spaniel, Macaroni and Common are just a few who lack something in nobility and Noble, Eager, Champion, Pope and Sam in originality - but it seems that even so, once a horse earns immortality at Epsom, his name acquires a certain ring.

PR: How to sell without selling your soul

How much of a role does belief play in public relations? Or, for that matter, ethics and scruples? Sarah Ebner asks the professionals how far they would go for publicity
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
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A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
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Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
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Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
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Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
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Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
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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
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War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers