House prices are rising at their fastest pace since they hit a peak in 2006

Housing market bounce-back: Property prices rise at fastest rate since 2006 peak

House prices are rising at their fastest pace since they hit a peak in 2006, a new report from surveyors published today shows. Meanwhile the number of would-be buyers looking to enter the market last month saw the strongest growth in four years.

Shift that will keep Tories out of northern cities for years

Benefit changes are likely to ensure no Tory is elected as an MP by a northern city for some time  to come

Dwell founder attacks former management

The founder of Dwell has attacked the failed furniture retailer’s previous management for leaving customers in a “terrible situation”.

The former minerals minister, Ian Macdonald, allegedly passed on inside information

A multi-million-dollar mining licence, a murder suspect and a prostitute called Tiffanie: Australia rocked by inquiry into ex-ministers

Two former New South Wales Labor Party ministers facing potential criminal charges and long jail sentences

Protesters complained that police are using bully boy tactics

Balcombe fracking protesters complain of 'bully boy' tactics

About 10 people were arrested during demo against proposed local oil and gas development

A young Anton DiSclafani with her pony – the author competed in US national competitions

Book review: The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, By Anton DiSclafani

Horses are everything for a Southern teenager sent away to camp after offending her family in this sultry tale set during the Great Depression

Royal Mint to mark birth of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's baby by giving away silver pennies at an estimated cost of £50,000

The penny, which will be presented in a pink or blue pouch, has been marked with the year 2013 to commemorate the babies' year of birth

New Qatari emir refuses to ‘take direction’ from anyone

In his accession speech, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, who was handed power by his father on Tuesday in a rare example of a hereditary Arab ruler stepping down, said that the Gulf state would not “take direction” from anyone.

Hotel staff should be treated courteously, something not all guests remember

Twice Bitten – The Untold Story of Holyfield-Tyson II, by George Willis

Whoever said that history is written by the victors can't have been watching the Mike Tyson-Evander Holyfield rematch at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on 28 July 1997.

Police rule out foul play over Russian supergrass found dying outside his Surrey mansion

But cause of death not pinpointed despite two post mortem examinations

Michelle Obama told a pro-gay rights heckler:

'You can take the mic but I'm leaving': Michelle Obama confronts gay rights heckler

Michelle Obama confronted a pro-gay rights heckler yesterday at a Democratic party fundraiser, telling her: "You can take the mic but I'm leaving."

Google chairman Eric-Schmidt has rejected claims that the company is not paying their fair share of taxes
Andrew Main Wilson, the new CEO of AMBA

Association of MBAs announces new chief executive

Andrew Main Wilson is to be the new chief executive of AMBA, it has been announced on the first day of the Association's conference in Poland.

Satyajit Das: Alchemists at the courts of rulers foster illusion of perpetual growth

Midweek View: It is not clear how, if at all, printing money or financial games can create real ongoing growth and wealth
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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
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there