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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.

Letters: Bank charges

The losers over bank charges are the good customers

Demand for overhaul in wake of hospital report

A massive overhaul in the way hospitals are inspected was demanded yesterday, as a new report revealed that nine trusts rated excellent or good by the official health regulator were failing when it came to patient safety.

Essex patient becomes the first 'healthy' Briton to die of swine flu

Victim had no underlying medical problems

Sing it loud: The children raising the roof of the Royal Opera House

The Royal Opera House is inviting 200 schoolchildren on to its stage this weekend. It's all part of a groundbreaking plan to get pupils singing again.

Stand up for the workers, Labour MPs tell Brown

Gordon Brown suffered a backlash from backbench Labour MPs over his handling of the wildcat strikes over foreign workers yesterday.

Thurrock

Secondary School Tables 2009

The environmentalist: Matt Shardlow

The environmentalist with the most conspicuous rising reputation in Britain looks after the lowliest of wildlife. Matt Shardlow is Britain's champion of invertebrates – insects, spiders, worms, snails and the rest of "the little things that rule the world". Although Britain has a long and noble tradition of entomologists and other specialists in mini-beasts, Matt is director of a pioneering body that looks out for the interests of all of them – Buglife, the invertebrate conservation charity.

Police reveal failings in MP's arrest

A review of the arrest of the Tory frontbencher Damian Green has raised concerns about the way police conducted the investigation, it emerged last night.

Speculation grows over Cabinet reshuffle

The news that Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly is to quit the Cabinet will spark a fresh bout of feverish reshuffle speculation.

Shopping mall giants poised to do battle for Liberty

Liberty International, the owner of Covent Garden in London, was once more the focus of takeover talk yesterday after two international shopping mall giants built significant stakes in the UK-listed property group.

Liverpool 5 Havant & W 2: Heroic Havant give Reds fright of their lives

Non-League outfit produce brilliant performance to lead twice before Benayoun hat-trick spares Anfield's blushes

FA Cup Countdown: Life at the bottom stirs memories for Henman's former housemate

The travails of a rookie tennis professional has left the former Aston Villa striker Mick Boulding well prepared for the hardship of Mansfield's existence, writes Jon Culley

Iraq: Pro-war MPs draw a line in the sand

Labour in revolt over deployment of troops under US command
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FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam