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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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before