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.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
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Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

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Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

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Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
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