News

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

ROUND-UP

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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Day In a Page

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
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015