I am currently sitting in a jurors' lounge surrounded by people who are similarly doing jury service and waiting to be selected for a trial.For jury service, the perfect scenario is that everyone else does it, creating such a broad cross-section of society that you don't have to join in.

Heavily armed riot police flanked the Orange lodge members as they made their way past the Ardoyne shops in the north of the city.Petrol bombs, bricks, bottles and other missiles were thrown by nationalists angry that the annual march was allowed to take a route past their area.

He said patients should share in the decisions made by clinicians about their health, and have more choice and control.The white paper, titled Liberating the NHS and published by the Department of Health, said patients would be put "at the heart of the NHS".

Seven protesters arrested after demonstrating against Israel's invasion of Gaza won reductions in their sentences today.A further three failed in their bid at the court of appeal in London, which was packed with supporters, to have their jail terms reduced.

Britain's military chiefs are facing a shakeup, with large projects scaled back if not cancelled, the defence secretary, Liam Fox, signalled today as he spelled out the need for "more agile and more adaptable" armed forces.But for the first time he held out the prospect of fewer nuclear missiles and warheads and even reducing the number of planned Trident submarines from four to three.

Michael Gove, the education secretary, came under fire from across the political spectrum over the scrapping of Labour's school buildings programme as Tory and Labour MPs lined up to give vivid accounts of the impact of the cuts.Jack Dromey, the Labour MP for Birmingham Erdington, said a special needs school in his constituency had been listed under two headings in the list.

Radio presenter Jon Gaunt today lost his high court freedom of expression challenge against media regulator Ofcom.The presenter, who now fronts the Sun's online radio show, SunTalk, was dismissed by TalkSport over the November 2008 interview before Ofcom's ruling in May last year.

5 % VAT rise to be deferred for pensioners and charities.Labour's efforts to stoke a Liberal Democrat rebellion on VAT appear to have won only limited support from some backbenchers such as Andrew George.

Traditionalists leave General Synod empty-handed.• Diocesan synods cannot make substantial changes, they can only suggest these for debate at General Synod in 2012.

He said: "The BMA position on this is that we would not be happy [for private sector involvement].David Nicholson, the NHS chief executive, warned that he wanted talks with the unions over NHS "pay and redundancy" terms.

A primary school headteacher in London earned a salary of £231,400 last year, prompting an "outraged" union to back a proposal for teachers' pay to be capped at the level of the prime minister.Mark Elms received a remuneration package totalling £276,523 for last year, including employers' pension contributions, for his leadership of Tidewell primary school in south-east London, according to GMB's analysis of Lewisham council accounts.

The ensuing debate must focus on delivering the best outcomes for patients, providing the most equitable and efficient care and, importantly, ensuring that data is available to measure these outcomes.How will they be held accountable for that money?

Claims of progress on Afghanistan's battlefields sound hollow; platitudes about "not staying a day longer than necessary" are wearing thin.Yet President Karzai and Nato still put their faith in "reconciliation and reintegration", trying to tempt lower level "$10-a-day Taliban" to surrender.

But the reality is that the coalition government's VAT hike will hit charities especially hard.This will mean its passengers will have to pay VAT to travel with them and find 2.

Your story claimed that food manufacturers had been lobbying to close down the FSA.However, as the voice of UK food and drink manufacturing, the Food and Drink Federation has consistently supported the need for an independent, well-funded food safety regulator.

The health secretary, Andrew Lansley, has hired two NHS managers from regional quangos, which he said he would abolish, on salaries of £200,000, as part of his drive to modernise the health service.They will also be allowed to keep their salaries, which are about £60,000 more than the prime minister is paid.

If the confidence of the students involved was to be believed, the future of the music business belonged to them.When the cacophony died down, Shahana Ali said very seriously: "Our ambitions are out of this world.

The relationship between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown became so hostile that Blair described his chancellor as "mad, bad, dangerous and beyond redemption" and likened Brown's behaviour to that of a "mafioso" in his dealings with him, Lord Mandelson has revealed.In early 2005 when Blair finally went back on his promise not to lead Labour into the general election, Mandelson said Brown came to him to demand a final exit date.

Meanwhile Labour has to get on with the daily guerrilla war of opposition, possible even in Labour's leaderless state.Luckily for Labour, Gove's shadow is the party's most aggressive frontbencher, Ed Balls, and he has mined this seam relentlessly.

The majority of the UK's least energy-efficient homes could be brought up to near-average green standards for less than £3,000, a new analysis claims today.Older homes needing major modernisation, including an entire new central heating system, would need at least £5,000 to bring them into line.