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

Drugs slip in as Britain grieves

Customs officers have seized more than pounds 2m worth of cannabis as smugglers took advantage of the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, to bring the drugs into Britain.

An empire awash with ambition

The sky's the limit for Procter & Gamble recruits. But it's hard to get in. Helen Jones reports

London's mayor? Turn again

Attempts to unify the city under one leader are doomed because of the disparate nature of the place, says David Walker

ready to wear : Holey orders

CROCHET. Almost immediately the image that springs to mind is something made from heavy-gauge wool that Mildred Roper would have worn in some lovely Seventies sitcom. But over the past few years, crochet has been a firm fixture in many a designer's collection - a black or cream crochet cardigan is a staple summer-evening piece. Wherever possible, go for synthetic or silk yarn, as this tends to be much finer and hence can be made up in garments that look pretty and delicate and also drape much better than that Roper-inspired, old-blanket look. Just watch out for cheap manufacturing because once a bit of it unravels, it all does. From this week, we shall also be quoting sizes on all clothes shown, partly to shame those that don't make clothes bigger than a size 14 and also to bring welcome attention to those that do.

Army firing squads killed boy soldiers

At least five of the 307 British soldiers sentenced to death during the First World War were under age but were still executed by army firing squads, it emerged yesterday.

Shot at dawn: the scared young men who lied to fight in Flanders

They were sick, cold, hungry, tired and terrified. They saw their friends bombed, gassed and cut to pieces in spectacular numbers and they were reduced to trembling wrecks by relentless shellfire and the imminence of their own demise.

Bedside manner fails to impress doctors on call

They do not feature in any medical text book, but every GP is familiar with them: the bizarre calls made in the small hours of the morning by patients who view their family doctor like the local pizza delivery man.

Voting in the council elections

This is the full list of results in last Thursday's council elections.

The key to khaki

Khaki is battledress. Melanie Rickey reports from the war zone: high streets here and in the US

Election '97: Official clock starts running as Parliament is dissolved

Parliament is formally dissolved today, starting the official clock running for the election on 1 May.

Minister gives green light to widen M25

A plan to widen part of the M25 to 10 and 12 lanes has been given the go-ahead by John Watts, the Roads Minister, after a Department of Transport official let slip that the scheme was essential to service the proposed fifth terminal at Heathrow Airport.

Tories 'fighting like ferrets in a sack'

Election countdown

Row over hospital killer bug

Ministers were last night accused of taking a cavalier attitude to public health after it was revealed that there has been a tenfold increase in the number of hospital patients contracting a potential killer bug.

Woolly thinking

Pull the designer wool over your eyes - at high street prices.

Capital Shopping offers a haven in uncertain times

The Investment Column
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
footballAll the action from today's games
David Silva strokes home his and City's second goal
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value

Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
Career Services

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
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

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
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas