News The Independent website grew by 7.94 per cent to 29,894,151 unique monthly users

The Independent’s website independent.co.uk enjoyed the largest growth among newspaper websites during December, according to official figures released today.

Andrew Mitchell hits back over 'plebgate' row

The former Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell hit back today in the row over his clash with police officers at Downing Street’s gates, insisting the official police record of the altercation was false.

Boxing day murderer 'Psycho' Keiran Stapleton attacks prison chaplain

A murderer who labelled himself “Psycho” after murdering an Indian student in the street has tried to attack a prison chaplain.

Diary: Ironically, Archbishop forgives The Sun its trespasses

Today's diary looks at The Archbishop of York, Leveson and Alan Sugar.

The press: To legislate or not to legislate?

Any statutory regulation would ignore a fundamental problem with our prurient society
The music mogul sued The Sun over a story in the paper last year, that was based on a false allegation that he had sexually assaulted a man in a Dublin night-spot.

Louis Walsh wins £400,000 from Sun over claim he groped man in club toilets

Music mogul successful in defamation fight

US military chiefs 'planned to blow up the moon with nuclear bomb' as show of Cold War muscle, physicist claims

Claims that military bosses developed a classified plan to launch a nuclear weapon 238,000 miles to the moon where it would be detonated upon impact

Comet's comeback? Appliances Online bids to take retailer 'internet-only'

The entrepreneur behind Appliances Online has tabled a bid for Comet in a move that could see the failed electrical chain disappear from retail parks and high streets.

Saad al-Hilli, the Iraqi-born father who was shot dead in the massacre in the French Alps

French police believe al-Hilli murderer could be crazed serial killer with a hatred of tourists

Police officers investigating the horrific massacre of a British family in the French alps believe they were murdered by a crazed serial killer with a hatred of tourists.

Clicking our way to democracy

The man who launched the government's e-petitions says our politics is based on granular issues but our political system is based on candidates

Andy Coulson (left) and Rebekah Brooks

MoD civil servant pocketed '£100k from The Sun': Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson charged with plotting to bribe public officials

A senior civil servant at the Ministry of Defence was on the payroll of the Sun for almost a decade, prosecutors claimed as they charged the former editor of Britain’s best-selling newspaper, Rebekah Brooks, and its chief reporter with plotting to bribe public officials.

Newspapers accused of keeping readers in dark on press regulation

Media owners accused of using selective statistics to fight reform said to fight press reform with selective statistics

Think the humble house spider is harmless? Think again: woman nearly dies after spider bite

Natalie Hemme suffered a rare allergic reaction after being bitten on the wrist by a house spider

Conservative MP Nadine Dorries wants to amend the health Bill to stop
charities who offer abortions giving advice to women seeking terminations

A new low in parliamentary history? Serving Conservative MP Nadine Dorries takes time out to appear reality television show I'm a Celebrity...

Nadine Dorries has set what many will see as a new low in parliamentary history by being the first serving MP from a major political party to take time out to appear on a ‘reality TV’ show.

'I don't Blame page 3 girls for posing' says de Piero

Young women who pose for topless pictures – like the Page 3 Girls in The Sun – should not be blamed for it, Ms de Piero said.

Blair's tormentor returns; jumping the Gaunt-let; Mensch made up; and Headline of the Week

Our diarist looks forward to the week ahead

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
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Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
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Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
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David Silva, Andy Carroll, Arsene Wenger and Radamel Falcao
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'