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Advertising is like a faulty shower, ITV chairman Archie Norman once said, and the Downton Abbey broadcaster today showed again that is the case.

Postal workers begin clearing strike backlog

Postal workers today began clearing a huge backlog of millions of items of mail as the latest wave of strikes ended, with little sign of any fresh moves to break a deadlocked ro over jobs, pay and modernisation.

Andrew Grice: Just as Mandelson was finally winning over his party...

After Lord Mandelson wowed last month's Labour conference, Tony Blair sent him a text in which he jokingly asked whether the party had been won over by the Business Secretary or whether it was the other way round.

Tories would privatise Royal Mail, says Clarke

Shadow business secretary Kenneth Clarke said the Conservatives would privatise the Royal Mail if it wins the next general election.

Mail pickets say they have no choice

Workers joining picket lines early today insisted they had been forced into taking action.

Post strike begins after talks collapse

After last-ditch talks between the Communication Workers Union (CWU) and Royal Mail failed last night, a 48-hour nationwide postal strike was due to begin at midnight. The action comes amid a row over pay, conditions and Royal Mail's modernisation plans.

Post strikes to go ahead as hopes collapse

National strikes by postal workers will go ahead tomorrow and Friday after hopes of reaching a last-minute deal collapsed.

Mark Steel: Royal Mail is to blame for our broken society (obviously)

We can already see the 'modernisation' the Government wants from posties

Recruits vital to keep mail moving, say bosses

A Royal Mail boss said today that a 30,000-strong recruitment blitz was not designed to "break" a union as last-ditch talks aimed at preventing this week's crippling strikes went ahead.

Royal Mail will hire 30,000 extra workers to beat strike

Temporary Christmas staff will be brought in early to deal with planned stoppages

'Golden generation' tag annoys Lampard

Midfielder eager for squad to deserve moniker originally delivered by Adam Crozier

Royal Mail bosses got £10m bonuses for 'efficiency drive'

The measures that have angered workers into strike vote brought executives multimillion pound rewards

Postal workers vote on national strike

Small businesses count cost as huge backlog of mail builds up in sorting offices

Royal Mail warns of pay freeze

The Royal Mail today became the latest company to warn its workers that they face a pay freeze this year because of the recession.

Commons in uproar over Mail sell-off

<i>Independent</i> survey finds opposition from all parties to Royal Mail privatisation

Leading article: The Royal Mail will not survive without reform

Those who argue that the status quo is sustainable are deluding themselves
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran