News Have self service checkouts made shoplifting easier?

More than £1.6bn worth of groceries and other goods are being stolen every year by supermarket customers using self-service tills, according to a new survey.

Michael Gove has been using his wife's email account, known as the 'Mrs Blurt'

Michael Gove brands ICT curriculum 'a mess'

ICT in England's schools is a "mess" and must be radically revamped to prepare pupils for the future, Michael Gove has said.

Stephen Hawking in his office at Cambridge last month

I owe it all to my father – Hawking marks milestone of 70th birthday

Illness kept him from his party, but the physicist still gave a moving talk about his life. Steve Connor reports

Diagnosed with motor neurone disease at 21, Stephen Hawking was warned he might not live to see his 22nd birthday

One last mystery for Stephen Hawking: women

He may be one of the world's most eminent scientists but one thing remains a mystery to Professor Stephen Hawking - women.

The post of wheelchair assistant has a salary of £25,000 a year

Wanted: genius to help Stephen Hawking (physics skills not needed)

Wanted: a computer-literate graduate with a screwdriver who can maintain the wheelchair of the world’s most famous living physicist – without the help of an instruction manual. Academics need not apply.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, is driven from Papworth Hospital

Duke of Edinburgh leaves hospital

The Duke of Edinburgh is tonight beginning a belated Christmas with his family after being discharged from hospital.

The end of that buttercup myth

Scientists have discovered why buttercups glow yellow under people's chins – and it has nothing to do with liking butter.

Chalk Talk: Jade Goody may have been lacking an education, but she knew its value

Our education leaders do choose some surprising role models these days. First it was the new chief schools inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, likening his role as a headteacher to that of Clint Eastwood in the Dirty Harry and the Man With No Name" films.

Bedside device enables 'vegetative state' patients to communicate

Three out of 16 patients could respond to commands to imagine moving their hands or toes

Students name best (and worst) universities

A year is a long time in the world of higher education. A university that has been the most expensive in the country will become one of the best in terms of value for money next year.

Leading article: How to achieve

While by no means endorsing some of the more radical solutions Clint Eastwood adopts in his films as appropriate for headteachers, we can see that a firm, no-nonsense leadership style is often necessary for success in challenging schools.

Derailed Cambridge service finally goes live

We are sorry to announce that the bus due on platform one is running approximately two years late.

Best British Short Stories 2011, Edited by Nicholas Royle

Slip this lightweight but nourishing anthology into your holiday bag. Editor Royle has selected 20 published stories from British writers. His own (excellent) taste means that little explosions of weirdness or transcendence often erupt amid much well-observed everyday life.

Cambridge Folk Festival, Cherry Hinton Hall, Cambridge

If you had looked at this year's Cambridge Folk Festival from above, you might have mistaken the scene for an army encampment, so well equipped were the picnickers. Arguably the most civilised of Britain's music festivals, certainly the best organised, it was the perfect setting for some beguiling folk.

Leading article: Heart lifting

The tale of Matthew Green is an inspiring one. The 40-year-old has been given an artificial heart by Papworth Hospital in Cambridge. This is the first time a British person has benefited from this medical technology.

State secondaries rush to take up traditional GCSE alternative

More than 200 state secondary schools have ditched the GCSE in favour of a more traditional O-level style examination.

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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
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
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?