News

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

Christmas boost for high street

Retailers were expressing cautious optimism yesterday that a rise in pre-Christmas sales compared with last year might help offset poor sales throughout the past 12 months.

Nine cities 'need greater powers'

NICHOLAS SCHOON

First privatised rail line is agreed

Rail privatisation: First line moves into private hands as Stagecoach signs contract for South West Trains becomes trap Book locked to grid strap Book locked top grid

Demanding consumers shun the traditional high street

GLENDA COOPER

Harris unrolls carpet format

Carpetright, the rapidly expanding carpet retailer run by former Harris Queensway chief, Sir Phil Harris, is to roll out a new format in a bid to capture 20 per cent of the UK market.

Channel rail link costs soar

Channel rail link costs soar

Harpist busks it on way to the top

LIZ SEARL

Honey, I've shopped the kids

Children make shopping stressful for parents, which is why creches are now big business. By Karen Falconer

PICK OF THE DAY THIS WEEKEND

PICK OF THE DAY

A LESSON FROM A HERETIC

MASTERCLASS 4: RATATOUILLE; Eclectic, Paul Gayler calls his cooking; some may call his various ratatouilles heresy. But it's the classic French dish he teaches Michael Bateman

Magistrate slashes Gormans' charge list

Magistrate slashes Gormans' charge list

Sunday trade lifts profits

The introduction of Sunday trading is increasing the pressure on town-centre shops, accelerating the drift towards out-of- town retail sites, according to a survey to be published today.

Banham quits in row over reform of counties

Sir John Banham, the man in charge of controversial plans to reorganise local government, resigned yesterday as the Government announced a big change in direction for the long-running review.

Rebel MP faces legal action by planners

Thurrock Council last night voted to go ahead with legal action against Teresa Gorman, the Tory MP for Billericay, rejecting a motion by the Essex council's Conservative group to drop the case and despite a threatened picket by the rebel MP herse lf, writes Jojo Moyes.

ON THE ROAD WITH THE BIG BOYS

Lorries and lorry-drivers are the outcasts of the road: ugly, threatening, dirty. Yet some see a strange beauty in their rough trade. This is the story of a writer whose enthusiasm for trucks became an irresistible obsession...
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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
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season