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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 charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
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Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
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Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
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Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
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Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
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Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
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The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick