The Big Freeze Part II: Thousands of schools shut and drivers stranded... and there's more to come

Snowed in: A man clears his drive of snow in Overseal, Derbyshire, one of the counties worst hit by the latest wintry weather

1% - Bank goes for broke and slashes interest rates by 0.5% to a new record low

The Bank of England

Interest rates have been slashed to a new historic low of 1 per cent as the Bank of England attempts to stave off the effects of a long and painful recession.

Average house price RISES by £100 in a month as Bank cuts interest rate to 1%

Good news: House prices have started to rise again, according to the latest figures

The average price of a home in Britain rose £100 a day last month, the biggest rise for two years, the Halifax bank said today.

Grade issues formal apology as ITV cuts away from the climax (and only goal) of Everton-Liverpool cup game... to a Tic-Tac ad

WHAT YOU SAW: ITV displayed this Tic-Tac advert during the crucial minute when Everton scored a last-gasp winning goal against Liverpool

ITV sparked a storm of protest last night after millions of viewers missed Everton's Dan Gosling’s dramatic winner in the Merseyside FA Cup derby.

Chocolate bars to be made smaller in Government anti-obesity drive

Britvic

Health Secretary Alan Johnson will tell firms such as Mars, Coca-Cola, Britvic and Nestlé that smaller versions of their products should be available in all garages and corner shops.

Race doll row hits the royals: Queen has to say sorry for golliwogs on sale at Sandringham

Carol Thatcher/ Queen

Mandy warns RBS bankers over 'exorbitant' bonuses after £20billion taxpayer bail-out

Stephen Hester

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson today warned ailing Royal Bank of Scotland it risked alienating the public by offering "exorbitant" bonuses to its traders and senior bankers.

Blunkett bobbies are 'glorified security guards and account for half of disciplinary cases', says Scotland Yard report

police community support officer

Police community support officers are causing disciplinary problems because they are bored and see themselves as 'glorified security guards', a damning internal report reveals.

Exiled peer cuts off Tory Party donations 'until he sorts tax issues'

Lord Laidlaw

One of the Conservatives' biggest financial backers has stopped donating to the party, it was revealed today.

The truth is out there: UFO sightings over Britain 'double in a single year'

A UFO spotted in Wolverhampton, Northamptonshire in 2000 and 2001.

Officials have admitted the number UFO sightings more than doubled last year - including one spotted hovering over Parliament.

Nazi hunters brand claims that SS war criminal Albert Heim is dead are 'too perfect'

Evil: A 1959 photo of Dr. Arebit Heim, the Nazi concentration camp doctor now thought to have died in Cairo in 1992

Nazi hunters who have spent decades searching for a death camp doctor who performed hideous medical experiments on inmates expressed 'serious doubts' yesterday over claims that he is dead.

Revealed: John Malkovich and Kevin Bacon among A-list victims of $50billion Madoff fraud

JOhn Malkovich

It reads like Who's Who of the great and good of America. But instead it is the catalogue of several thousand clients who lost money investing with disgraced financier Bernard Madoff.

Pictured: The moment gunman opened fire in a high street after nightclub argument

Kevin Fairweather

A gunman who opened fire across a town centre high street has been jailed for ten years. Kevin Fairweather fired two shots across West Bromwich high street after leaving a nightclub in the early hours.

'There definitely IS a God': Christians hit back at atheists with their own bus adverts

Atheist advert

The Christian Party, the Trinitarian Bible Society and the Russian Orthodox Church have paid for pro-God adverts that will run on 175 buses across central and east London for two weeks.

We know where you are: Google lets you track friends and family through their mobiles

Google's new service is available free in the UK, US and 24 but so far only works with certain phones and networks

Google has launched a tracking service that lets parents keep an eye on their children - and wives keep tabs on their husbands - round the clock.

Illegal strike over as 'victorious' workers accept 50-50 foreign labour deal

Lindsey Oil Refinery strike

Illegal wildcat strikers ended a walkout today over the use of foreign labour after accepting a deal to provide 102 new jobs for UK workers.

Miliband refuses to press Obama to release Guantanamo 'torture' intelligence

Controversy: British resident Binyam Mohamed claims he was tortured in Guantanamo Bay

David Miliband today refused to press Barack Obama into releasing intelligence material relating to the alleged torture of a former British resident in Guantanamo Bay.

Shameless! Benefits cheat family who netted £130k caught out on Spanish holiday

Allan and Loraine Peters

Education minister's own blog littered with spelling mistakes

Jim Knight

Schools Minister Jim Knight managed to spell 'maintenance' as 'maintainence' and 'pernsioners' instead of 'pensioners'.

England football star Micah Richards arrested over nightclub assault

Micah Richards

The Manchester City footballer has been arrested over an alleged assault outside a nightclub. The 20-year-old defender was questioned by police yesterday after the alleged assault of a man on Christmas Eve.

How half of our police force are unprepared for major disasters and emergencies, official report warns

Police

Half of police forces do not have proper plans in place to deal with emergencies or the most serious types of crime, a damning report warned yesterday.

Teenage triple jump champion 'drove getaway car in £25k security van robbery'

Daniel Lewis

Olympic hopeful Daniel Lewis, 19, allegedly gave a fake name and said he was 'only the driver' after police stopped him at the wheel of a Mercedes.

Cabbie drugged and sexually assaulted drunk lesbian virgin in his car, court is told

John Worboys

A woman has told how she woke in the back of a black taxi to find the driver 'on top of her' - moments after telling him she was a virgin and a lesbian.

British Council suspends operations in Tehran after 'excessive intimidation by Iran bureaucracy'

Tehran

The British Council has pulled out of Tehran following intimidation by the Iranian authorities.

Tough love: Boy who stole sweets from newsagent escapes charges after father frogmarches him to shop to apologise

Ryan

When Philip Connor heard his son had stolen a packet of sweets from a corner shop he was livid. So he ordered him to write an apology and then frogmarched 14-year-old Ryan to the store to deliver it.

Doctor's assistant admits sleeping with GP who was treating her husband for depression

Dr Henry Kinch

A doctor's assistant who had a secret affair with her depressed husband's GP today denied their romance began on a ‘drunken one night stand’.

The moment gunman opened fire indiscriminately after nightclub argument

Kevin Fairweather

A gunman who opened fire across a town centre high street has been jailed for ten years.

Pictured: The moment a barn owl is ambushed mid-flight by two kestrels

The owl and kestrel face off against each other

When this hungry barn owl went to hunt voles in the winter sunlight, two kestrels had different ideas.

The gigantic 45ft snake that could swallow a cow

snake

A killer snake that was longer than a bus, as heavy as a small car and which could swallow an animal the size of a cow, has been discovered by scientists.

One-night stand man wakes to find lover has carved her name into his arm

dominique

High Street sale of the century: Famous names at risk after Icelandic tycoon's company fails

Johannesson and his wife, Ingibjorg Palmadottir

Many high street names are at risk as one of their biggest investors, Baugur, faces administration. The Icelandic group is owned by Jon Asgeir Johannesson (pictured with wife Ingibjorg Palmadottir).

The world at a glance
 

Obama backs down over 'Buy America' after EU warns him not to start a global trade war

President Barack Obama

Britain and the EU were tonight embroiled in a war of words with U.S. President Barack Obama over his controversial plans to 'Buy American'.

First picture of four-year-old Darcey thrown to her death from a bridge by her father

Four-year-old Darcey died last Thursday after her father allegedly threw her from a bridge on the way to her first day of school

The image of the beautiful, carefree, spirited youngster who ‘loved to sing and dance’ was released as the family spoke for the first time.

From Tim to Kim: German pop star, 16, becomes world's youngest transsexual after sex change op

Girl in a boy's body: Pop singer Kim Petras, 16, may have become the world's youngest transsexual after completing gender reassignment surgery last November

A German pop singer has become the world's youngest transsexual after she underwent Gender Reassignment Surgery in November, she has revealed in her blog.

Nazi hunters brand claims that SS war criminal Albert Heim is dead are 'too perfect'

Evil: A 1959 photo of Dr. Arebit Heim, the Nazi concentration camp doctor now thought to have died in Cairo in 1992

Nazi hunters who have spent decades searching for a death camp doctor who performed hideous medical experiments on inmates expressed 'serious doubts' yesterday over claims that he is dead.

'I enjoy sandy areas'... Now even 'Bin Laden' is applying for the 'Best Job in the World'

'I have experience in large-scale event coordination': A prankster posing as Osama Bin Laden has sent in a video application for the 'Best Job in the World'

He enjoys sandy areas - and has experience with large-scale event coordination. And now 'Osama bin Laden' is hoping to put his talents to good use with an application for the 'Best Job in the World'.

'Swedish Fritzl' locked up wife and lover in soundproof dungeon and used them both as sex slaves

fritzl

A man dubbed the ‘Swedish Fritzl’ has been caged for 12 years for locking up his wife and his lover in his home and subjecting both to horrific sexual abuse.

Phew, what a scorcher: The koala who cooled down by taking a cold bath in a bucket

koala

It may not be the most common of bear necessities. But when faced with a scorching heatwave, this incredibly cute koala decided a bath in a large white bucket filled with icy water was the only way to cool down.

WORLD NEWS

sri lanka        

Thousands of low-achieving school-leavers to work as teaching assistants under new Government plan

Ed Balls

Thousands of 16-year-old school-leavers with no more than low-grade GCSEs are to be hired to fill in for teachers.

Home Secretary launches new crackdown on knife sales as Damilola's father becomes envoy on youth violence

Jacqui Smith

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said a new crackdown on selling knives launched today would send a 'really clear message' to youngsters on the street.

'Blair schemed to promote me within cabinet so I could rival Brown for leadership', claims Charles Clarke

Charles Clarke

Charles Clarke claimed today that Tony Blair wanted to promote him within the Cabinet as a rival to Gordon Brown for the Labour leadership.

Miliband unveils six-step plan to 'rid the world of nuclear weapons'

Can the nuclear bomb be consigned to history? Miliband thinks the challenge is 'considerable' but not impossible

David Miliband threw the future of Britain's nuclear deterrent into doubt last night by unveiling a plan to rid the world of atomic weapons.

Comment
 

GEOFFREY WANSELL: Daft Carol just doesn't give a damn

'Plain-speaker' Carol Thatcher: A long line of gaffes

With her girlish grin, Carol Thatcher hardly looks or acts like a woman just five years short of her old age pension - but then somehow she has never quite grown up.

ALLISON PEARSON: The day nostalgia fell from the skies

Snow

We've been under a great economic cloud. On Sunday night, the cloud finally unleashed its silver lining and the country was transformed with a blanket of snow.

QUENTIN LETTS: Is it not time you had your weekly shave, young man?

David Miliband and Hillary Clinton

Breaking news... David Miliband, as I write, is appearing alongside the new U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, at a televised news conference in Washington DC.

LORD TEBBIT: 'On your bike' was right but Mandy is still wrong

Lord Norman Tebbit, the former chairman of the C

More strikes swept the country yesterday, with around 5,000 workers braving blizzards to show their fury at the employment of foreign workers.