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Former staff of a development quango were sent for patchwork, pottery and jewellery-making lessons at taxpayers’ expense, an investigation has found.

Police look into ‘racist’ comments by councillor

A Conservative councillor who warned that a Travellers’ site would end up looking like “My big fat Gypsy cesspit” is to have his comments assessed by police.

Sir Robert Francis: 'Patients and the public shouldn't have to write to one organisation and be told it's not their responsibility'

Painful wait: NHS helpline has 3,000-strong backlog of complaints about GPs and dentists

Officials say problems at the Customer Contact Centre in Redditch have now been resolved

The Queen Elizabeth II bridge linking Essex and Kent across the Thames

£5bn price tag for Thames crossing planned to relieve QEII bridge

One option would pass through undeveloped land that is designated as Green Belt

Nnow and then: The Mucking landfill site (top) is now a nature park, with a visitor centre (bottom)

Where there's Mucking, there's grass: For 50 years an old quarry was a giant rubbish dump. Now it's a thriving nature reserve

An Essex landfill site which once took 15 per cent of all London's rubbish has been ingeniously transformed into a nature reserve. The tip, full to a depth of 30 metres with the capital's garbage, was first covered with earth and then turned into grassland. Here, and in adjacent wetland and wooded areas, hundreds of rare species now thrive.

Motorist jumps to his death from Dartford Bridge leaving traffic delays of up to seven hours

42-year-old man plunged into the River Thames after four hours of negotiations with police failed to talk him down

Georgian terrace houses in Southend On Sea, Essex

Southern comfort as house prices rise beside the seaside

North-South divide reflected in changes to property values, Halifax survey shows

Behind the scenes: Royal Opera House’s High House

The only way is opera! Essex gets a cultural boost

The arts are flourishing in Thurrock, despite the town being voted the most miserable in Britain this year

Osborne commits extra £1 billion for roads and a Tube line extension

An extra £1 billion for roads and a Tube line extension were among transport measures announced today by Chancellor George Osborne.

'Completely unacceptable': Essex hospital warned by health regulator over care of children

Out of date medicines were found by the Care Quality Commission inspectors - a visit triggered by several serious clinical incidents including the death of a little girl following a suspected drug error

Home repossession hotspots revealed

Two new reports reveal England's worst-hit regions

M25 widening work is finally completed

Two widening schemes on Britain's busiest motorway were completed today after three years of work.

Coryton in doubt as state aid is denied

The future of the financially stricken Coryton refinery in Essex, which supplies around 20 per cent of London and the South-east's fuel, was in further doubt yesterday as it emerged the Government will not keep it alive with state aid.

Campaigners stage protest to save Coryton refinery in Essex

Campaigners trying to save jobs at an oil refinery have staged a protest amid warnings that its closure could see more than £100 million drained from the economy.

Dartford-Thurrock River Crossing toll charges to rise

A river crossing toll charge on the UK's busiest motorway is to rise in the autumn, the Government announced today.

North West polls planned in EU referendum push

Campaigners for a national referendum on UK membership of the European Union are to stage three polls in North West constituencies, it was announced today.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most