Postcard from... Brussels

A demonstrator stands firm outside a government building in China’s Yunnan province

Campaigners in China challenge authorities over environmental impact of planned petrochemical plant

Fears over proposed refinery in southern city of Kunming attracts thousands of protesters

GCSE and A-Level grading this summer could be as chaotic as last year because quality of marking is still poor, leading school heads warn

School headmaster says major issue of shoddy marking needs to be tackled

Michael Gove sought to criticise teaching standards

Dumbing down, Minister? Michael Gove gets his educational facts from marketing surveys for Premier Inn and UKTV Gold

Education Secretary’s attack on lack of pupils’ knowledge not based on any academic research

Peter Mandelson has warned Labour over trade union influence

Peter Mandelson warns Labour over trade union influence

Former minister says too many candidate selection processes are 'in the hands of one union at worst or a couple at best'

Ambulance queues have left thousands outside A&E for more than 30 minutes

Demand on A&E departments is 'out of control', warns health regulator

Demand on NHS accident and emergency departments is “out of control” and “totally unsustainable”, the head of the health and social care regulator has warned.

The majority of people surveyed between the ages of 18 and 34 support more housebuilding in the countryside

Grand designs for more homes in countryside leave public unconvinced

Poll for 'The Independent' shows half of voters reject Coalition initiative to solve housing crisis

Only one in five people expects to be better off in two years' time

Deep pessimism among the public about the length and depth of the economic downturn is revealed today by a poll which finds that only one person in five expects to be better off in two years’ time.

Ukip in chaos after leaked emails threaten to derail party on eve of election

Ukip’s ability to vet its own election candidates has come under intense questioning after a series of embarrassing leaked emails, campaign trail blunders, and allegedly racist and homophobic comments from their would-be councillors ahead of local elections this week.

Free school meals could soon be scrapped and people paid to look after elderly neighbours as councils take desperate measures to deliver a “tidal wave” of spending cuts

Free school meals may be scrapped by councils under 'tidal wave' of cuts

Think-tank warns of 'a tidal wave of cuts that makes the 1980s look like a day at the beach'

Lord Butler himself was asked to investigate two cases of potential ministerial misconduct

Lord Butler: 'Civil servants should not investigate MPs'

Britain’s most senior civil servants should no longer be asked to investigate accusations of ministerial misconduct because they do not have the “powers” to get to the truth, the former Cabinet Secretary, Lord Robin Butler, has suggested.

The Education Secretary, Michael Gove

School pupils will be taught too much politics under Michael Gove's new curriculum, says Cambridge professor

Proposed changes include more chronological approach to history and a more British perspective

Nicolas Maduro has a 10 point lead in the polls

Henrique Capriles accuses Venezuelan state media of bias in favouring political rival

Henrique Capriles has hit out at the overwhelming bias of the Venezuelan state media, claiming that the VTV channel alone has given 46 hours and 43 minutes of coverage to Nicolas Maduro since the former bus driver became acting President after the death of Hugo Chavez on 8 March. Over the same period, Mr Capriles claimed he received just one minute and 18 seconds of airtime.

Editorial: Enforce the minimum wage to make work pay

It was Bill Clinton who, as US President, summed up what he called the old idea of the American Dream that “if you work hard and play by the rules, you ought to have a decent life”. But that sentiment applies not only to America and not just to a dream. It should be the guiding principle of any government worth the name.

Postgrad diary: 'I gather perspectives on our recent history'

Until recently, the popular image of a postgraduate history student might have been a lone figure in a library, poring over weighty tomes. While that style of study still exists in many places – and with good reason – it's not what Peter Quigley is doing for his MA in public history at Royal Holloway, University of London. He's more likely to be seen on London's streets with a digital recorder in hand, interviewing people and then editing soundbites for a website providing eye-witness accounts of historical events.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
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