News Tim Berners-Lee invited an atheist minister to present Thought for the Day

Atheist minister says he had been invited by the founder of the worldwide web Sir Tim to present but had been blocked by BBC senior management

Mark Dampier: Britain's small-cap funds punched well above their weight this year

It's been a good year for stock markets. In particular, European and Japanese markets have made large gains. There is a lesson here for all investors: despite a poor economic backdrop, stock markets can perform well. This is often because much of the bad news is priced in and markets are focusing on improved corporate prospects. Similarly, it shows the most uncomfortable investment decisions often turn out to be correct.

The drugs giant has been embroiled in a scandal but its shares have only wavered a little

Investment Insider: The heady days aren't over for drugs groups

Genetics, stem cells and consistent dividends can offset the problems of expiring patents

Television choices: How to build a better future with Sellotape and science

TV pick of the week: Tomorrow's World: A Horizon Special

AstraZeneca new boss's debut buy

AstraZeneca's new boss yesterday agreed his first major deal at the pharmaceuticals giant, spending up to $272m (£169m) on the rights to an experimental kidney drug. This month, on his first day in the job, Pascal Soriot suspended Astra's share buybacks for the rest of the year.

Investment Insider: Pharmaceutical industry's best years lie ahead

I have heard many experts say that the best days of the pharmaceutical sector are behind it.

Bill Gates’ foundation is a major player in global development

Anger after Bill Gates gives £6m to British lab to develop GM crops

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given British scientists a multi-million pound grant to develop GM crops in what could be the most significant PR endorsement for the controversial technology.

Breathing on Glass, By Jennifer Cryer

The obsessive world of the ground-breaking geneticist is memorably portrayed in an ambitious debut novel that examines what happens when science and human appetites collide.

Glaxo takes £1.6bn Genome bid fully hostile

Britain's biggest drugs firm, GlaxoSmithKline, yesterday stormed ahead with its $2.6bn (£1.6bn) hostile takeover of United States biotech Human Genome Sciences, waving aside the board to take its bid direct to shareholders.

GlaxoSmithKline's $2.6bn bid for genetic firm refused

GlaxoSmithKline yesterday made a hostile $2.6bn (£1.6bn) bid for Human Genome Sciences (HGS), its long-term partner on treatments including lupus medicine benlysta.

Glaxo teams up for biotech fund

Britain's biggest pharmaceuticals maker, GlaxoSmithKline, has teamed up with Johnson & Johnson and the private equity house Index Ventures to launch a ground-breaking €150m (£125m) fund to discover new drugs.

Research matters: Together we can find a quicker solution to our problems

Free and open access to research, both past and present, is vital to solving global issues

Elliott to support Actelion nominees

Elliott Advisors, the dissident Actelion shareholder which has proposed six independent directors for the Swiss biotech's board, partially welcomed the company's recent nomination of former GlaxoSmithKline boss Jean-Pierre Garnier and ex-Schering-Plough finance chief Robert Bertolini as board members.

Poor nutrition in womb leads to early ageing

Babies born to women who eat a poor diet during pregnancy are more likely to suffer prematurely from chronic age-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes, say scientists.

Sanofi agrees long-awaited takeover of Genzyme

The French pharmaceuticals company Sanofi-aventis is to buy the US biotech firm Genzyme Corp in a multibillion-dollar deal it has been pursuing for nine months.

Warning over brain research funding

Leading UK neuroscientists today attacked "draconian" funding cuts that could see £4 million stripped from "vital" brain research every year.

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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
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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'