Life and Style

It probably contravenes some unwritten rule to begin a light-hearted examination of the week in technology with a reference to Jimmy Savile, but a few days ago I remembered an episode of Jim'll Fix It in the 1980s where some lucky youngster had his room kitted out with all the latest gadgets from the Ideal Home Show, including some automated curtains. These curtains elicited gasps of wonder from my teenage self as I entertained the notion that, in the future, we'd be relieved of the endless, life-sapping drudgery of having to drag light pieces of material along a rail, sometimes as frequently as twice a day.

Fast Forward: Snappy Christmas

Whether you're looking for a disposable snapper or a top-of-the- range camera, check out our round-up before you buy

Invensys' aerospace arm sold for pounds 109m

INVENSYS, THE automation and controls group, yesterday passed the half way point in its pounds 1.8bn disposal programme after announcing the sale of its aerospace division to Smiths Industries.

EXIT POLL: Is Falstaff on form at the new ROH?

DUSHA BATESON

PO posts pounds 386m loss over computer fiasco

THE POST Office yesterday reported a pounds 386m loss for the half- year after taking a huge exceptional charge linked to the collapse of a project to computerise benefit payments.

Leading Article: The greedy banks must not exclude the poor

BARCLAYS BANK would like to charge a pounds 1 fee to customers of other banks who use Barclays' automated teller machines to take cash out of their accounts. There is a Yiddish word for this sort of effrontery: chutzpah. First the banks take our money to swell their ability to make loans, then they charge us for access to it.

IMS Group may float football website

IMS GROUP, the Leeds-based telecoms and new media services company, is considering a separate flotation of its popular football news Internet site Teamtalk.com, the chief executive, Bill Wilson, said last night.

Letter: Less time off, please

Sir: Michael Hager ("Let's have an eight-day week", 21 July) is about 50 years too late when he calls for more leisure time.

You've got the brains, but have you got the touch?

Forget IQ - your boss in the Zeros will be after your EQ (that's emotional quotient, dummy). Give yourself a hug and prepare for the new millennium, says MEG CARTER

Letter: `Laws' of science

Sir: David Packham speaks true. As one FRS recently told me: "I have long taken the view that all our theories, including new ones, are wrong; it is merely that we do not yet know how or by how much."

BTR Siebe appoints pounds 2bn sale advisers

BTR SIEBE, the merged automation and controls group, yesterday confirmed it had appointed investment bankers to review its portfolio of 500 businesses, setting the scene for the disposal of up to pounds 2bn of assets, writes Michael Harrison.

BTR and Siebe pay pounds 500,000 to become Invensys

BTR SIEBE, the merged automation and controls group, yesterday joined the growing band of companies which are adopting meaningless new names by announcing that it is henceforth to be known as Invensys.

Volex shuts plant

VOLEX, the electrical equipment group, yesterday said it would close its South Wales factory and streamline operations at its main Manchester plant, with the loss of 185 jobs.

Network: Welcome to the money-go-round

My Technology: Merlyn Lowther, Chief Cashier of the Bank of England, on how cutting-edge technology keeps cash in our pockets
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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
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