Sport Bobbing along: Bobs Worth and Barry Geraghty take the Lexus with ease

Gold Cup champion trounces Irish challengers to become clear favourite to retain Festival crown

Betfair stumps up £6m for UK betting levy

Betfair, the biggest online betting company, will hand over a £6m lump sum to the Horserace Betting Levy Board this month.

The City Diary: Waley-Cohen proves he's more than a show pony

Slackbelly in Cheltenham

How a flutter can become a lethal addiction

Charities are reporting a big rise in calls from addicts, while bookies and casinos rake in bigger and bigger profits.

Market Report: Insurers boost top tier despite news from Japan

The top-tier index was covered in blue last night as it finally managed to bring to an end a run of six straight sessions of falls. The challenge for investors, however, was to separate the stocks that were over-sold after the tragedy in Japan from those merely experiencing a dead cat bounce.

The City Diary: So taxing. Betfair finally moves offshore

Betfair, the FTSE-250 gambling group which has found life as a public company heavy going, announced last week that it will be operating offshore – a move that would have saved the group £18.5m in tax on their gross profits last year.

Arena Leisure warns of hurdles ahead as betting levy falls

The racecourse operator Arena Leisure last night warned of a tough year ahead as it faces up to a cutback in funding generated by the tax on bookmakers.

The City Diary: Oil firm seeks lawyers – must enjoy hard work

Fancy a career at America's least favourite oil group? BP is searching for a clutch of lawyers to join it in Texas – the scene of one of the group's most infamous disasters, which killed 15 workers and injured many more in 2005.

Business Diary: The Betfair Twitter mystery solved

Betfair's mysterious Twitter page turns out to be a marketing experiment. As the Diary has reported over the past week or so, the online poker company's official Twitter page spews out a stream of bizarre messages every day, none of them related to gambling. Now Richard Bloch, its international PR manager, explains: "It took us a while to work out how Twitter worked – we realised people don't want to be bored with links to the website and bombarded with marketing, so we had to mix it up and provide information as well as something interesting." It seems to be working: Betfair has 7,000 followers so far.

Business Diary: Bespoke bride firm booming

Hats off to Joseph Weiner. When the former investment banker, a New Yorker who these days lives in London, decided to start his own business he had the courage of his convictions, despite other folk's scepticism. Some 14 years later, Hand-in-Hand is thriving, Weiner tells the latest issue of Bloomberg Business Week. For those of you unfamiliar with the company, it charges men up to $2,000 (£1,300) for a "supervised courtship" – a match-making process with young women from Eastern Europe. "Every guy wants a beautiful younger woman," says Weiner.

Business Diary: Betfair moves in mysterious ways

Has the online bookmaker Betfair shelled out for an expensive online-marketing strategy from some whacky agency? Its Twitter page is bizarre and appears to begenuine, judging by the expensive display advertising that accompanies its tweets. None of these is related to Betfair's trading activities and almost all are idiosyncratic to say the least. The latest Betfair tweet – "I look to the skies. Another eagle will be here soon" – is a prime example. What on earth is going on?

Business Diary: Child's play to see through this stunt

Retailers, eh. You really get the chance to see them at their very worst during the January sales, and Toys R Us came up with a doozy with its offer on a Thomas the Tank Engine "Cranky The Crane" set at its Newbury Park branch.

Margareta Pagano: Fairness is the only way to reform our tax

Something is deeply disturbing about a government which steam-rollers controversial changes to higher education funding through yet shows no inclination to reform regulations which allow British companies to avoid millions in tax.

The City Diary: Santa Ocado

It's that time of year when we get to enjoy a rare public appearance by Jason "Missing" Gissing, the reclusive co-founder of online grocer Ocado (whose job title of "director of people, culture and communications" hardly reflects his behaviour).

Investment Column: Capita faces outsourcing uncertainty

Betfair; Domino Printing

David Prosser: Christmas sales melt away despite the thaw

Outlook The cost of the wintry weather of the past few weeks mounts by the day – a string of companies warned they had taken a hit yesterday, while M&S added its name to the list of businesses that now feel unable to commit to making deliveries in Scotland.

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Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

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Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

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Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

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Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

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