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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.

Let's give thanks we don't yet have Thanksgiving

TODAY IS Thanksgiving Day in the United States. The Pilgrim Fathers were so grateful that their first harvest had been safely gathered they decided to have a holiday in which everyone could give thanks to God by getting into their cars and sitting in a traffic jam.

Rugby Union: Wings keep Pontypridd flying high

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Parliament: HOUSE OF LORDS - Rearguard action against chamber of `Tony's cronies'

TONY BLAIR was attacked last night for creating a chamber of "Tony's cronies" as the Commons passed the historic Bill to end the rights of 600 hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords.

Secretarial: No smoke without fire

If you think it's your right to smoke at work, watch out. By Kate Hilpern

Country and Gardens: The forest comes to Dagenham

Country Matters

Racing: Eight go to post for new track race

NOT MUCH of note ever happens at Taunton racecourse, one of life's supporting cards. Its one and only major race each season is the Cecil Hunt Memorial Chase over four and a quarter miles, a contest which, with all due respect to the late Mr Hunt, is never going to rival the Grand National.

Labour tells its MPs: write essay to save job

MPs MAY have scoffed at government plans for peers to justify their existence in 75 words, but yesterday it was revealed that they are also to be given a challenge - to save their own jobs in two A4 pages.

Racing: Frying pan off the back burner

Ambitious plan to reopen Alexandra Park and attract City slickers to a unique horseracing track

Big improvement in tests for 11-year-olds

RESULTS IN this year's English and maths tests for 11-year-olds have improved dramatically and given a huge boost to the Government's standards campaign, The Independent can reveal.

Parliament: Labour's Rebel MPs

The 65 Labour MPs who rebelled over the Welfare Reform and Pensions Bill:

What's old, shiny and round and refuses to die?

The 45rpm single of course, says Tim Healey, a record label chief who has discovered that the 50-year-old format is still the best for new bands

Britons shun beaches to go shopping

THOUSANDS OF motorists are heading for shopping centres rather than beaches over Easter, after weather forecasters said temperatures would not be as high as they had earlier predicted. Although London and parts of Scotland saw temperatures of 18C yesterday, much of the country was overcast with showers.
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project