Money: The latest status symbol - a gold card from the Co-op

The battle for customers in the lucrative gold card market intensified this week with the launch of a low-cost card by Co-operative Bank, which claims to offer the best rate on the market.

Gold card becomes the new designer accessory

There is always one in any crowd. The woman who took the plunge and finally bought brown, just as the others went for charcoal grey. The guy who got into flares, when everyone switched to straight-leg trousers, and back again.

'Someday we will both be dead...'

'Let's do some business before it's too late'. Hester Lacey on business cards with, er, a serious message

Travellers' cheques go plastic

A high-tech innovation could spell the end for travellers' cheques, according to American Express. The banking giant is conducting a pilot scheme involving an electronic version of its traditional travellers' cheques which takes the form of a plastic card "programmed" with foreign currency.

Golf: Goosen triumphs from the front

Retief Goosen held off a phalanx of British hopefuls to win the Peugeot French Open in Paris yesterday. Goosen never let go of a lead he established with an opening 64 and won his second European Tour event by three shots despite a double-bogey seven at the last.

Oh, for the freedom of the begging-bowl

You know beggars? You know what it is about beggars? It's their lack of elegance. They're such losers, such schlumps. All that matted hair, those horrible, deliberate clothes, the filthy dogs on string, the scrawled notices on cardboard like an NHS hospital. If Tony and the Blairenes ("A Song, A Smile and a Nolle Prosequi") ever want to make a real difference to our quality of public life, they might take a break from forming human pyramids in the Cabinet room, and commission Terence Conran to redesign our beggars.

Sun, sand and solvency

Are travellers' cheques the best currency to take up the Congo? Yes, for now...

Golf: Nicholas inspired for title defence

Britain's Alison Nicholas has an early opportunity to make amends for the disappointment of losing a play-off in France last week when she defends her title in the pounds 110,000 Guardian Irish Open at Luttrellstown Castle, near Dublin, today.

Golf: Morley out in front

Britain's Joanne Morley repeated her opening round 67 on the second day of the Evian Masters in France yesterday to take an outright lead.

Money: Don't get caught short

Holidaymakers are switching from travellers' cheques to credit and debit cards when going abroad, writes Nic Cicutti

Aitken: My fears of 'set-up' over stay at the Paris Ritz

The former Cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken was accused in the High Court yesterday of conspiring to deceive the Government over who paid the bill during his controversial stay at the Paris Ritz hotel.

TRANSPORT Heathrow climbs to fourth in passenger league table

Only three airports in the world are handling more passengers than Heathrow, latest figures reveal. And a 7.9 per cent rise, to 24.1 million passenger numbers in 1996, pushed Gatwick Airport into the top 30 of world airports, says a report in Airline Business magazine.

Holiday claim? Ask the taxpayer

Travel insurers expect us to bail them out for medical costs

Golf: Sutton stays ahead

Golf

Tips for Brits on holiday etiquette

CASHPOINTS
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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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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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Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
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Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
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X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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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'