News

JPMorgan chief says virtual currency faces major regulatory hurdles

No charges against Madoff's UK operation

No one from the UK arm of Bernard Madoff's fraudulent investment business will face prosecution, the Serious Fraud Office has decided.

Simon Read: Don't get caught out by con tricks

There's something quite reassuring to read that hard man Jack Bauer has become a victim of a Ponzi scheme. Actually, it's not Jack who's been caught out but Kiefer Sutherland, the actor who plays him in the hit television show 24. He was persuaded to hand over $869,000 – around £540,000 – to a steer-roping promoter for a lucrative cattle deal which was set to net the actor a handsome quick profit. But the cattle never appeared and the cash vanished.

Tom Sutcliffe: A good play has no sell-by date

Watching the current revival of John Guare's Six Degrees of Separation the other night I found myself thinking about the durability of plays. This is a matter, you might have thought, of considerable interest to playwrights too, since they all must dream (at some level) of adding a work to the permanent repertoire. And since plays only truly live on stage, the question of theatrical durability is particularly pointed for them. They can't just lie fallow, as novels often do, coasting through that dangerous slough that lies between novelty and established endurance – the death valley of Yesterday's Sensation. They are likely to need some kind of performance history to get them across the badlands. There are lots of exceptions to this rule of course, but even the exceptions seem to prove the rule. John O'Keeffe's Wild Oats, for example, was a big hit in 1791, then pretty much took a 200-year sabbatical before the RSC revived it in 1976, a production that itself spawned a number of regional productions. But it would be hard to argue that it's been restored to the permanent repertoire.

Review of the Year 2009: The corporate classes

Fattest cats fell to earth with a bump

Review of the Year 2009: Quotes

'I woke up as Britney Spears!'

Larceny, she wrote: Patricia Cornwell sues

Best-selling crime writer claims millions in earnings have gone missing

Business Diary: Price war or marketing hype from the grocers?

Asda and Tesco are keen to talk up the price war story. But many in the industry doubt there is ever any new money involved in these affairs. Malcolm Walker, chief executive of Iceland and one of the country's most successful retailers, told Retail Week in 2007: "Everyone knows price wars are bullshit – you put some prices up and some down."

Hit & Run: SimplicITy computer delivers over-50s to the digital age

If social networking is something you do at the bingo hall, windows require (net) curtains, and a Mac is to be worn in the rain, chances are you're old. Because, apparently, old people don't do computers. Things like Twitter and spreadsheets only bother them when they're on the One O'Clock News. But anyone watching the BBC's lunchtime bulletin yesterday will have seen a pensioner called Betty using a computer designed to deliver her generation to the digital age.

Madoff fraud associate is found dead

A philanthropist accused of pocketing $7bn (£4.3bn) from the investment scams of his friend Bernard Madoff was found dead yesterday.

Bottom bunk and pizza: Madoff's new life in jail

Bernard Madoff, once one of the most powerful men on Wall Street, now shares a cell with a 21-year-old drug offender and eats pizza cooked by a convicted paedophile, according to a new legal filing that offers an insight into the fraudster's prison life.

Madoff: the $18bn hunt for justice continues

Six months after Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty to orchestrating the biggest financial fraud in history, his victims are still trying to recoup some of their losses from his family. Stephen Foley reports

Screen Talk: Rich pickings

Guy Ritchie has signed up to direct his first superhero movie, 'Lobo', a big-screen adaptation of the DC Comics anti-hero. Backed by Warner Bros, the story follows the antics of the blue-skinned cigar-chomping alien Lobo, an interstellar mercenary and bounty hunter. Introduced in the 1980s by creators Roger Slifer and Keith Giffen, Lobo was a parody of violent comic book heroes such as Wolverine and the Punisher. With stories featuring a nihilistic streak tinged with dark comedy and excessive violence, Ritchie will certainly have his hands full. Doug Liman was attached to direct the project, but the film's producer, Joel Silver, wanted to work with Ritchie again after their recent team-up for 'Sherlock Holmes'.

Peter York: No shagpile, no bad gilding – expensive but reassuringly dull

So what were you expecting from Bernie Madoff? The full-on Dictators' Home's Mobutu look of over-scaled rooms and bad gilding? Did you imagine his Ponzi plotting had a backdrop something like Aaron Spelling's LA repro château? Or the OTT McMansion setting for the shag-pile shootout in Scarface?

The great Madoff sell-off

The disgraced financier's home in Florida is up for sale. Stephen Foley goes through the keyhole
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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