News Mike Ashley has mellowed in recent years, so his stake in Debenhams surprised the City

The Sports Direct tycoon is well known for keeping rivals guessing. Simon Neville attempts to unravel his stakebuilding plan for Debenhams

£100m drop in wagers hits Sportingbet

A lull in sporting events after the Olympic Games saw gamblers' wagers fall by nearly £100m in the three months to October at the takeover target Sportingbet, the online betting company which owns Paradise Poker.

Simon English: Kweku Adoboli’s compulsive gambling chimed with the culture of investment banks

At some level a man who can gamble away $2bn – at one point his losses were closer to $12bn – must be an interesting and clever man.

William Hill moves to buy out online partner

The bookmaker William Hill wants to buy out its partner Playtech from William Hill Online in a deal that could cost it upwards of £350m.

Sportingbet agrees William Hill deal

William Hill is set to get one over on its rival Ladbrokes by securing the £530m takeover of Sportingbet.

There are 250,000 adult badgers in the UK

Will badger cull stop spread of TB in cattle?

It's the great countryside controversy of the day. NFU president Peter Kendall and TV naturalist Chris Packham argue for and against the cull

Superbikes and Moto GP unite

The organisers of rival motorcycling race series MotoGP and World Superbikes have agreed to bring their interests together for the first time.

Addict dies of anthrax caught from infected heroin supply

Fears of an anthrax outbreak were growing last night after a drug user died from injecting contaminated heroin. The source has yet to be identified but it is suspected the death in Blackpool and an anthrax infection in Scotland in July may be linked to six other cases in Europe since June.

Games help to up pace at Sportingbet

Any gambler 'going short' of the number of gold medals Australia might win in the Olympics is looking good. Until Monday when Sally Pearson, pictured, romped home in the 100m hurdles, one wag noted, it was hard to be certain that Australia hadn't boycotted the Games altogether.

Six jailed for insider dealing

Six men were jailed for between 18 months and three-and-a-half years today for their part in an insider dealing ring at major investment banks, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) said.

Insider-dealing ring at UBS and JP Morgan facing jail

Six men were facing jail terms yesterday after being found guilty of insider dealing in a ring where employees in the print rooms at UBS and JP Morgan passed on secret takeover deal documents to their trader friends.

Insider-dealing ring at UBS and JP Morgan facing jail

Six men were facing jail terms yesterday after being found guilty by a jury of insider dealing in a ring where employees in the print rooms at UBS and JP Morgan passed on secret takeover deal documents to their trader friends.

IG is on the money with revenue leap

The spread-betting giant IG Group saw revenues in the year to May jump 17 per cent to £367m.

IG Group is boosted by the high-rolling short-term punters

City investors might be sitting on their hands, too afraid to dip into markets that are fractious and tough to call.

Simon English: Why is the dark art of spread betting thriving?

Outlook The spread betting sector has still yet to firmly shake off the idea that somehow it is up to no good. In some minds, just the words "betting" and "tax free" conjure up dark images. Playboys on speed boats, perhaps, slicing through Geneva waters while Granny Smith loses her savings on punts she does not understand.

Full moon: The algorithm regards a full moon as a bad omen. In Greek mythology, werewolves appeared shortly after the full moon

Superstitious can play the markets with dawn of 'triskaidekaphobic trading'

Choose stocks avoiding the number 13 and using rules based on cycles of the moon

Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
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Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
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Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas
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Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
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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
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
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