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Professor Robert Coe, from Durham University:  “This seems to underline the view that improvements in GCSEs and some other examinations have had more to do with grade inflation than real sustained improvements over time.”

Letters: Televised political debates

Election debates? A real clash would be more honest

Mark Seddon: He really was a Tribune of the People</I>

Michael Foot, orator extraordinaire, parliamentarian, journalist and bibliophile, radical, internationalist and socialist has passed away at the very grand old age of 96, and rarely can it be said with such certainty that we shall not see his like again. He died, peacefully in his own home in Hampstead, surrounded by his still extensive library, and by pictures of his beloved wife, the film maker and feminist Jill Craigie.

100 Magic Moments of the Turf, by Graeme Roe

Having written a quartet of well-regarded racing thrillers, Graeme Roe has swapped fiction for fact with this collection of reminiscences from a high-class field of folk talking about their days to remember.

Cameron condemns 'inappropriate sexualisation' of children

Conservative leader David Cameron today spoke out against the growing "inappropriate sexualisation" of children.

Seeing Further, Edited by Bill Bryson

This year the Royal Society celebrates its 350th birthday. The "Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge" was founded on 28 November 1660, when a dozen "ingenious and curious gentlemen" met at Gresham College, London, after a lecture by Christopher Wren, the 28-year-old Professor of Astronomy, and decided to found "a Colledge for the Promoting of Physico-Mathematicall Experimentall Learning." Among the signatories of that historic memorandum were Wren, chemist Robert Boyle, clergyman and polymath John Wilkins, Sir Robert Moray, and mathematician William, Viscount Brouncker.

Balls acts to protect children in reality shows from &lsquo;exploitation&rsquo;

Tougher rules governing the use of children in reality TV shows were demanded by the Government today.

Simon Carr: Bercow undermined by the embarrassments of Mrs Speaker

Sketch: I'd say a challenge is now a certainty and a new Speaker the highest probability

The past comes back to haunt John Bercow &ndash; and his other half

She was a &lsquo;ladette&rsquo;. He penned a politically incorrect dating guide. It&rsquo;s not been a good week for the Speaker, says Andy McSmith

Lord Pearson plays the Islam card to win leadership of Ukip

Millionaire campaigner against immigration sees off four rivals to head party

Former Tory peer is new Ukip leader

A former Conservative peer was today elected the new leader of the UK Independence Party (Ukip).

Heritage Oil sells Ugandan fields to Eni for $1.35bn and backs out of Genel deal

Shareholders set for special dividend payout

Editor-At-Large: Nurses are not heroines. They are professionals

There's been plenty of hand-wringing over the news that from 2013 all new nurses will have to spend three years studying for a degree to qualify. At present the majority train for two or three years and are awarded a diploma. Critics claim these higher standards mean that trainee nurses will spend time sitting in lectures when they could be learning practical skills on the job, and widespread concern has been expressed that the profession will attract the wrong kind of applicants, more concerned with their careers than carrying out menial tasks.

Letters: Why I won't wear a poppy

Parading of poppies has turned into a sick joke

Richard Garner: There is much to be recommended in Mandelson&rsquo;s blueprint

It is, of course, hard to argue with the concept that our universities should do their best to equip the nation with the skilled workforce that it needs to compete in the globalised economy of the 21st century.

Sport
Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty
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Scoreboard at the end of the semi-final World Cup match between Brazil and Germany at The Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
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News
Justin Bieber performing in Paris earlier this year
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Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
Arts and Entertainment
'Molecular Man +1+1+1' by Jonathan Borofsky at Yorkshire Sculpture park
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Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
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The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil