News Syrian refugees look out from an evacuated house in Istanbul. Hundreds of Syrian refugees will be allowed to come to Britain under new government plans

Hundreds of Syrian refugees will be allowed to come to Britain under plans to be announced by the Government on Wednesday.

May reveals plans for FBI-style crime agency

Plans for an American-style National Crime Agency (NCA) were set out yesterday by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, to tackle the estimated 6,000 organised-crime gangs in Britain.

Agency to fight organised crime

A US-style National Crime Agency will have a sweeping new power to step in to directly task and coordinate police forces in a bid to tackle organised crime and secure the UK's borders, the Home Secretary said.

How did they get in? Hay Festival's success spawns its own fringe

Each May Peter Florence pitches his marquees in a field below the town of Hay-on-Wye on the Welsh-English border, ready to receive 100,000 visitors to his Hay Festival.

Home Secretary made to suffer in silence for police spending cuts

Plans to cut spending on the police by 20 per cent over four years were condemned by the Police Federation

Home Secretary accused of betraying police

The Home Secretary refused to relent on her police cuts today as angry rank and file officers said she had lost their trust.

The Sketch: Lies, smears, tantrums – the new politics hasn't arrived just yet

With all of us agitating for a new politics it's remarkable how resilient the old politics is. A different voting system ain't going to change that, so don't grieve (or exult) too loudly when the results come in.

Volunteer police bid 'a slap in the face'

Hundreds of the country's most experienced police officers who were forced to retire under a legal loophole are being encouraged to return to Britain's second largest force as unpaid special constables.

Diary: A right royal misery

Well, there I was finally planning my long-awaited Royal Wedding Special, when old misery guts himself Mr Morrissey has to go and bloody well stamp all over it!

Diary: Yvette finally gets her man

While traditionally reluctant to trade on my considerable showbiz connections, occasionally I make a welcome exception. Following my report yesterday on shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper's touching devotion to Seventies Eurovision winners Brotherhood of Man, I'm pleased to announce that the band have been in touch.

Diary: Downing Street's in a tails spin

Well, what a right old pig's ear that was! One minute we were being told by Number 10 that Dave (PM) would be sticking two fingers up to all those silly old snobs insisting he had to wear traditional tails on the day of the royal wedding – the next we hear he'll be donning his Bullingdon best after all. Just as Tory heartlands everywhere were struggling to come to terms with the prospect of their leader embarrassing the nation in such a shoddy fashion, flustered Downing Street lackeys were suddenly spinning a different yarn altogether, insisting the Prime Minister had in fact always intended to embrace his fate on 29 April. Someone, we were pointedly told, had jumped the gun by unofficially suggesting otherwise – someone who hadn't even bothered to check with his boss before opening his big fat stupid mouth!

John Rentoul: One hot potato makes a mash-up

Making political capital of immigration is a hazardous ploy for the Prime Minister and the coalition

Tom Sutcliffe: Don't believe what you read in headlines ...

Social Studies: Do we even have a political culture that allows for intelligent discussion anymore?

Simon Carr: Spit it out, Yvette. It's meant to be an Urgent Question

Sketch: David Davis praised the police as having upped their game since the G20 demos – fair play, they didn't actually kill anyone

Government considers 'thug' crackdown

The Government is considering a crackdown on hooligans who cause trouble at public protests in the wake of the "mindless violence" which marred a huge union-organised demonstration.

Police clash with protesters from campaign group

Hundreds of people attempted to hijack today's main anti-cuts demonstration to wreak havoc in London's West End.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform