A protester outside the Kochs' ranch demonstrates against the involvement of big donors such as the billionaire brothers in shaping the political agenda

Rupert Cornwell: Big money takes aim at the heart of Washington

Out of America: Party political bankrollers are mounting a takeover of think tanks. If they succeed, US politics will become more partisan than ever

Children's obesity is a 'national emergency'

Labour's failure to tackle the "chips and PlayStation 3 culture" means one-fifth of primary-school leavers are now obese, the shadow health minister Diane Abbott has admitted, in a warning that the health of Britain's children is a national emergency.

Leading article: Sir Humphrey won't like it, but reform must come

Long before Yes Minister became a British, and then an international, television success, the terms Civil Service and reform, used together, were wont to raise scornful laughter. To this day, the senior levels of government service retain, not always justly, this image of institutional immutability. A report out today, couched as an open letter to the heads of the Civil Service, Sir Jeremy Heywood and Sir Bob Kerslake, wants to change that. It has much to commend it.

Whitehall 'needs radical reform' to avoid a crisis

A radical reform in Whitehall must be pushed through to head off a looming crisis in public services, David Cameron is warned today.

George Osborne leaves 11 Downing Street in London

New Tory right in call for deeper cuts to public spending

Measure would allow greater flexibility over tax thresholds and steal Lib Dems' thunder

Hospital wards for the elderly would close under Labour's social care plans

Hospital wards for the elderly would be closed to release funds for old people to be cared for in their own homes under plans to tackle the looming social care crisis being drawn up by Labour.

Ecotricity backs The Independent's energy price campaign with online film

Green energy company Ecotricity has backed The Independent’s campaign to highlight the high prices of the Big Six energy firms by producing an online film which is rapidly going viral.

Turkemenistani election victory labelled a sham

President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov won a new five-year term by capturing 97 per cent of the vote, officials said yesterday, but a Western expert said the poll was a sham.

Leading article: More heat than light on lobbying

The launch yesterday of a 12-week consultation marks the latest stage in halting the advance of Government moves to rein in parliamentary lobbying. On the face of it, the proposals set out by the minister, Mark Harper, would, if introduced, represent a considerable improvement on the current state of affairs, which amounts to a scandalously opaque free-for-all.

Students blame poor teaching over degrees

Growing numbers of students are lodging official complaints against their universities if they fail to obtain a top-level degree.

US think-tank hails Hong Kong as 'world's most free economy'

Hong Kong has the most free economy in the world, thanks to a combination of light regulation and the embracing of laissez-faire economic policy, according to the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing, US-based think tank.

Money goes towards recruiting gunmen and to foreign investors in the pirates' lucrative enterprise

West plans new hi-tech crackdown on Somali pirate gangs

Satellite pictures reveal areas transformed by ransom riches

GDP grew 1 per cent in 2011, think-tank says

Britain's economic growth slowed in the three months ending in December, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research said yesterday, boosting the case for the Bank of England to take further measures to support the economy.

Youssef Boutros-Ghali has been spotted at lectures hosted by the LSE and Chatham House

From fêted statesman to a fugitive from justice

A senior figure in the regime of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak and a key International Monetary Fund adviser, Youssef Boutros-Ghali had grown used to being welcomed in some of Britain's most respected think-tanks and academic institutions, dispensing his views on economic and political reform to an array of opinion formers.

Pensioners 'will work into 70s'

Many of tomorrow's pensioners will become self-employed consultants, online traders or run odd-job businesses to make ends meet in retirement, according to research.

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
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Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
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Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
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'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
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Colombia's James Rodriguez celebrates one of his goals during the FIFA World Cup 2014 round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Fair trade: the idea of honesty boxes relies on people paying their way
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary