News

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

Travel challenge: New year celebrations in the French Alps

Every week, we invite competing companies to give us their best deal for a specific holiday. Today: a festive holiday over New Year's Eve at a French ski resort. Prices are per person, based on two departing together on 26 December for one week. Lift passes and ski equipment hire are not included in the prices quoted.

At least 17 school staff earn more than PM

At least 17 school leaders across England received pay packets worth more than £150,000 last year, a new analysis of figures shows.

At least 17 heads topped £150,000 package

At least 17 school leaders across England received pay packets worth more than £150,000 last year, a new analysis of figures showed today.

'Essex Man' returns to the Tory fold

The Conservatives scored a crucial victory over Labour as "Basildon man" flocked back into the Tory fold, electing Stephen Metcalfe.

Best Buy's man has Britain's electricals giants in his sights

In The Spotlight: Scott Wheway

Best Buy opens first British shop but postpones website launch

Arrival of US electricals superstore chain forces competitor Currys to raise its game

Best Buy to open first UK store in Essex next week

The US electricals giant Best Buy is to open its first UK store a few weeks early for the bank holiday, as it bids to take on rivals Currys and Comet.

BNP official ousted after claims of coup bid against Griffin

Police called in after party leadership becomes concerned about 'threats to chairman's safety'

Watchdog tells 12 NHS flagship hospitals to raise standards

Labour's 'gold-standard' trusts make up more than half of commission's hit list

12 NHS foundation trusts ordered to improve

A dozen of the country's supposed flagship NHS trusts were today told to improve or face action from health care regulators.

Simon Carr: The truth won't get you anywhere in politics

My suspicion is that even fellow travellers take every single little thing sceptically

Rough diamonds: The Smith twins take their fight to Westminster

A couple of cockney head teachers who run special schools in Essex have high expectations if the Tories get into power.

Business Diary: Doug didn't want to join the gang anyway

Does Doug Williams, head of the Centre for Economic and Business Research, feel snubbed? He wasn't asked to sign any of the letters dispatched by groups of economists last week on spending cuts, but wants it known he would have said no if he had been. "The fact that a number of Nobel Prize winners have signed such letters says more about the low quality of people receiving Nobel prizes than the credibility of the letters," Doug adds.

Jeremy Laurance: Transparency alone will not prevent deaths

The NHS is going through a torrid time. The death of baby Ebony Rose McCall-Comley means more bad headlines, only days after the shocking report on conditions at Basildon and Thurrock NHS Trust, the sacking of the chairman of Colchester NHS Trust and the sudden resignation of Baroness Young, chair of the NHS regulator, the Care Quality Commission.

NHS watchdog more reliable, says minister

The Government defended the NHS regulator today after a report found a raft of underperforming hospitals and consistently high death rates.

Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
Life & Style
life
Arts & Entertainment
Back in the suit: There are only so many variations you can spin on the lives or adventures of Peter Parker
filmReview: Almost every sequence and set-up in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 seems familiar from some earlier superhero film
Arts & Entertainment
Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon in Game of Thrones
tv
Life & Style
Father and son: Michael Williams with son Edmund
lifeAs his son’s bar mitzvah approaches, CofE-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys he’s experienced in learning about his family’s other faith
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
musicJethro Tull frontman leads ‘prog rock’ revival
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
comedy... writes Jenny Collier, the comedian whose recent show was cancelled because there were 'too many women' on the bill
News
House proud: keeping up with the Joneses now extends to children's playhouses
newsLuxury playhouses now on the market for as much as £800
Career Services

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How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit