The right skills for the job?

After a rocky start, the Learning and Skills Council's chief executive, John Harwood, is starting to win grudging praise for his work. Neil Merrick reports

Police give firms security warning over extended Christmas holiday

POLICE HAVE warned companies to take extra care to secure their property over an extended 11-day Christmas break that will cost business as much as pounds 5bn in lost trade.

Late-night ravers party on as councils fail to act on noise

THOUSANDS OF people are having to endure sleepless nights because councils refuse to implement a law introduced to clamp down on noisy late-night parties.

Books: Washington's literary gent loses his place

A Week in Books

Parliament: The House: Asylum plea

MINISTERS faced fresh Labour backbench calls to restore cash benefits for asylum-seekers ahead of today's crucial vote on provisions in the Asylum and Immigration Bill.

Travel: UK - Millennium Park life

Forget the mayhem of Greenwich. How about Lee Valley for your New Year celebrations? By Frank Partridge

Education Letter: A-levels fail the test

Your Views

POLICE INVESTIGATE MURDER OF SEVEN IN HOME BLAZE

POLICE ARE seeking the motive for a horrific arson attack yesterday that killed seven people, including three small children, writes Mark Rowe.

POLICE LAUNCH MURDER INVESTIGATION AS SEVEN DIE IN HOUSE BLAZE

A MURDER investigation was under way last night after seven people died in what is believed to have been one of Britain's deadliest arson attacks, writes Mark Rowe.

I just heard her scream - `get my babies'

IT WAS BARELY 1am when the shouting began. "I heard screaming. I thought they were arguing. Then I heard the kids crying," said Lisa Lewis, who lived next door to the three-storey house in Chingford, north- east London.

The Cypriot Who Likes To Be Involved

AT THE AGE of 32, Tony Kleanthous is already a millionaire and can afford to spend his time and efforts in attempting to fulfil what he sees as his new mission in life, the future of Barnet Football Club.

Why landlord is a dirty word

Property owners are afraid to rent, and tenants are the ones losing out. We need to put our house in order. By Miriam Addison
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before