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

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Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own