News Council tax set to rise by as much as five per cent

The amount paid by households towards the cost of policing looks set to rise by up to five per cent this year as the Government faces a potential show down with its flagship Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) who are demanding above inflation increases in council tax to combat swingeing budget cuts.

Some of the alleged crimes took place at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham

Birmingham neurosurgeon Nafees Hamid charged with 10 further sex offences

The 50-year-old had already been charged with sexually assaulting a female patient

Birmingham hit-and-run: Wolverhampton man charged with causing death of elderly cyclist by dangerous driving and failing to stop at scene

A man has been charged with causing death by dangerous driving after a hit-and-run in Birmingham that killed an elderly cyclist.

Energy regulator Ofgem orders power companies to 'cut costs for consumers'

Ofgem tells operators to do their bit to cut bills

The energy watchdog Ofgem waded into the controversy around household energy bills today by forcing Britain’s local electricity network operators to do more to lower costs for consumers.

Nikki Sinclaire MEP

MEP Nikki Sinclaire 'overwhelmed' by support as UK’s first 'sex-change parliamentarian'

MEP Nikki Sinclaire says she is “overwhelmed” by the volume of support she received after revealing herself as Britain’s first “sex-change parliamentarian” after undergoing gender reassignment surgery more than two decades ago.

David Cameron insists that squeeze on public-sector spending is permanent

Prime Minister outlines vision of money-saving, slimmed-down government after 2015 election

Former Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell

Plebgate: IPPC criticises police officers over 'false account' of meeting with Andrew Mitchell following Downing Street gates row

Watchdog says that there should be a panel to determine whether three police officers gave a false account of meeting

Five women rescued as police raid suspected brothels in Birmingham

Two women and three men arrested following late-night raids

Microlight pilot killed after crashing into electricity pylon

A man has died after his “microlight” aircraft crashed into an electricity pylon in Staffordshire.

Rebecca Shuttleworth was described as a 'monster' by police

Keanu Williams death: Mother who beat child to death was 'invisible to authorities' thanks to 'collective failure' of Birmingham child services

Serious case review concludes that professionals involved in care of Keanu Williams failed to meet even basic standards of good practice

Teachers stage one-day strike in defiance of Education Secretary

Thousands of schools close as staff members protest Michael Gove’s refusal to open dialogue on pay, pensions and workload

Industrial action - the latest in a wave of regional strikes - has been organised by two of England's biggest teaching unions

Thousands of schoolchildren affected as teachers strike over pay

Industrial action - the latest in a wave of regional strikes - has been organised by two of England's biggest teaching unions

Book of a lifetime: The Old Wives' Tale, by Arnold Bennett

My friend Lottie Moggach gave me the Penguin Classics edition of this book and the truth is that I never got around to reading it. The appeal of "classics" rather gets knocked out of you when you study English Literature at university. There always seemed to be better things to do than tackle 615 pages by a writer better known for an omelette than for his work.

Hot shot: In-form Karen Carney scores the first goal for England yesterday

England 6 Belarus 0 match report: Karen Carney fires superb hat-trick as England's women cut loose

Karen Carney's superb first-half hat-trick helped Brent Hills present a strong case to take over as permanent head coach of England women after this demolition of Belarus in their opening World Cup qualifier in Bournemouth yesterday.

Chief constable Suzette Davenport and murder victim Kevin Nunes

Top officers may face charges over cover-up claims

Police chiefs are among force staff who could face prosecution for perverting the course of justice in murder trial

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Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
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Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
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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
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
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