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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project