Money

Cautious investors should wait before they dive into this latest bond sector

Virgin Galactic achieve first solo glide flight

Virgin Galactic's space tourism rocket SpaceShipTwo achieved its first solo glide flight, marking another step in the company's eventual plans to fly paying passengers.

Stephen King: Will Europe's debt crisis lead to closer political union?

At the beginning of the year, Ireland was the poster child for the merchants of austerity. While the people of Greece seemed either unable or unwilling to accept massive cuts in public spending, the Irish stoically accepted their fate, resigned to a prolonged period of self-flagellation.

Japan steps in to weaken the yen for first time in six years

Japan has poured more than 1 trillion yen into the foreign exchange markets to pull down the value of its currency, whose strength has threatened to undermine the country's economy.

Over-supply of bananas hits Fyffes

A banana glut and rising costs reduced first-half profits at Fyffes, the tropical fruits distributor.

Fine is imposed after Whale killed trainer

The US federal job safety agency fined SeaWorld Orlando 75,000 US dollars for three violations uncovered while investigating the February death of a trainer who was grabbed by a killer whale and dragged underwater.

'Static Kill' operation a success, says BP

BP said today that its "static kill" operation to begin permanently shutting off the Gulf of Mexico oil well had been a success.

New BP chief executive in recovery pledge

BP's new chief executive today pledged to put the oil giant "on the road to recovery" as it reeled under a 32.2 billion US dollar (£20.8 billion) blow from the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

US companies go head to head in battle to buy Scott Wilson

The American engineering company CHM Hill confirmed an offer for its UK peer, Scott Wilson, after making an audacious attempt to block a bid from a US rival.

BP boss hands over control of Gulf crisis

Under-fire BP boss Tony Hayward today handed over day-to-day control of the Gulf of Mexico crisis as the oil giant set up a new division to manage the spill.

Beleaguered BP chief pulls out of conference

Environmental protesters disrupted an oil industry conference today but failed in their efforts to ambush BP's under-fire chief executive Tony Hayward.

China relaxes yuan rate stance

China has signalled that it may adopt a more flexible exchange rate for its currency, ending its two-year policy of pegging the yuan to the US dollar.

Prudential left with £450m bill as AIA deal collapses

Insurer Prudential was left with a £450 million bill today after its £24 billion Asian adventure came to a humiliating end.

M&S puts aside extra £800m to try to close £1.3bn pension deficit

Marks and Spencer has agreed a pension funding package worth £800m in an attempt to close the scheme's deficit. The group's defined benefit scheme, which has 123,000 members, faced a £1.3bn shortfall when its last valuation was carried out at the end of March last year. In order to close this, M&S has agreed to pay in an additional £376m between now and 2018.

FSA talks delay Prudential cash call

Insurance giant Prudential today suffered a setback in its launch of a record 21 billion US dollar (£13.8 billion) fundraising and mammoth Asian takeover.

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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
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Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
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The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit director Peter Jackson with his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
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Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
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Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
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'