Arts and Entertainment Everything but the sink: 1646 kitchen scene by the Flemish painter David Teniers the Younger, now restored to Robert Walpole’s former Norfolk home

As it did 250 years ago, Velázquez's portrait of Pope Innocent X peers into the gloom at Houghton Hall. It is an extraordinary image in an extraordinary space.

Slump for annuity rates deals blow to pension pots

Annuity payouts slumped by 11.5 per cent last year, their biggest fall since 1998. Rates have now fallen in 15 of the past 18 years and the average annual annuity income is less than half what it was in 1994, according to Moneyfacts.

Falling annuities deliver another blow to retirees

Annuity payouts slumped by 11.5 per cent last year, their biggest fall since 1998. Rates have now fallen in 15 out of the past 18 years and the average annual annuity income is less than half what it was in 1994, according to Moneyfacts.

Global bonds climb despite downgrades

The safety of bonds took a hit 12 months ago. But they have proved an essential part of investors' plans

Pension schemes' deficit hits record high of £312bn

The deficit in UK pension schemes hit a record high of £312.1bn in May, the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) reported yesterday.

Deficit in UK pension schemes widens to a record £312.1 billion

The deficit in UK pension schemes hit a record high of £312.1bn in May, the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) reported yesterday.

Athletic Bilbao's Fernando Llorente celebrates after he scored against SCP Sporting during their Europa League yesterday

Llorente takes Athletic Bilbao through to all-Spanish Europa League final

A dramatic winner from Fernando Llorente with two minutes to go sent Athletic Bilbao through to the Europa League final, where they will face fellow Spanish side Atletico Madrid.

Row brews over Bank of England's £50bn QE boost

Over a million pensioners will be poorer as they have bought annuities at artificially depressed rates

Annuity rate dive will hit millions of retirees short

The fall in gilt yields will reduce pension incomes, so it's more important than ever to choose the right product. By Julian Knight

Sangakkara spurns gilt-edged chance to put record straight

On American Independence Day next month, Kumar Sangakkara will deliver the Cowdrey Spirit of Cricket Lecture at Lord's. It will be full of wit and wisdom, aperçus and aphorisms because Sangakkara is a clever, articulate and thoughtful chap.

An Ideal Husband, Vaudeville Theatre, London

A couple not unconnected with a certain "cash for questions" scandal caught the eye amongst the first-night guests at Lindsay Posner's revival of An Ideal Husband. Securing their presence was a mischievous touch, for political sleaze is the perennially topical subject of Wilde's play. Its protagonist, Sir Robert Chiltern, owes his high-flying career to having sold a Cabinet secret in his ambitious youth. He faces ruin and the collapse of his marriage to the idealistic Lady Chiltern when the blackmailing Mrs Cheveley descends on London.

Pension liabilities hit a record high

The liabilities faced by defined benefit pension schemes soared to a record high during August as market conditions continued to deteriorate, according to Aon Consulting.

Bank says QE cut rates by 1 per cent

Research published by the Bank of England suggests the Bank's policy of quantitative easing – the direct injection of money into the economy – reduced interest rates by about 1 percentage point.

The Sonnets: 33

By William Shakespeare

The Sonnets: 20

By William Shakespeare

Jeremy Warner: Printing money seems powerless to halt rise in gilt yields

Outlook No wonder the Bank of England is stepping up its programme of "quantitative easing" (QE). Proving the old stock market saying that it is better to travel in anticipation than actually to arrive, gilt yields fell precipitously ahead of the formal announcement of QE, under which the Bank of England is expanding the money supply by buying shed loads of gilt-edged stocks. But they have been rising steadily more or less ever since and after another surge yesterday, the yield on the benchmark 10-year gilt is now higher than before the programme began. The rise has been particularly acute since the Budget, which laid out in glorious Technicolor quite how shockingly large gilt issuance is going to be in future years.

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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
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
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