News

Retail sales rose at their fastest rate in nine years in December, the Office for National Statistics reported yesterday. However, some City analysts immediately cast doubt on the reliability of the figures.

MPC says it is ready for more quantitative easing

In a confirmation of the current "dovish" bias of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), one of the Bank's senior policymakers has stressed that a further round of quantitative easing (QE) – the direct injection of money into the economy – remains an option for the Bank, on top of the £200bn already disbursed.

French board welcomes fifth woman

BNP Paribas now boasts more women non-executive directors than any other CAC-listed French company following the appointment on Friday of Fields Wicker-Miurin.

Murray brothers beaten at Paribas Open

Andy and Jamie Murray were knocked out of the ATP BNP Paribas Open doubles at the quarter-final stage on Wednesday night by Alexandr Dolgopolov and Xavier Malisse.

Bernanke asks for time as jobs data disappoints

Ben Bernanke, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, yesterday warned there was no choice but to stick to his plan for a $600bn (£386bn) stimulus to the struggling economy, dubbed QE2.

Vickers calls merger of HBOS and Lloyds 'wrong'

Shares in Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland tumbled after it emerged that the Independent Commission on Banking had described the decision to allow Lloyds to merge with HBOS during the financial crisis as "wrong".

Bonus rules will lead to exodus of top bankers, EU warned

Some of the world's biggest banks have appealed to Europe's banking watchdogs to water down plans to curb bonuses or risk losing its best bankers.

French watchdog fines HSBC

HSBC was among 11 banks fined €385m (£321m) by the French competition authority yesterday for collusion on setting cheque charges.

Economy suffers slowdown as double dip looms

Analysts gloomy after fall in construction orders and decline in business confidence

Margareta Pagano: Don't even think about banning the right to strike

Unions and bosses should work together to keep jobs

Bank confidence ebbs as Libor hits 10-month high

The rate at which banks lend to each other leapt to 10-month highs yesterday, marking their declining confidence as the fear of contagion sweeps Europe.

Retail sales beat market hopes

Retail Sales rose slightly more than forecast last month, with stronger demand at fashion chains and department stores offsetting a flat performance in food sales.

Business Diary: Survival claims to have scared off Vedanta

Is Anil Agarwal, the billionaire owner of mining giant Vedanta Resources, running scared? Survival International, the campaigning charity that has had Vedanta in its sights for some time, claims Agarwal pulled out of a conference at London Business School just because it announced it was intending to picket the event. The Vedanta boss withdrew only two days after Survival revealed its intentions, the charity points out.

Leading City traders given legal aid to fight insider dealing case

Assets have been frozen so the taxpayer will step in to fund their defence costs

The great City crackdown

Acknowledged as the most difficult thing to prove and prosecute, insider dealing is now on the receiving end of rigorous attention from the Financial Services Authority and the Serious Organised Crime Agency. Simon Evans reports on their recent activities
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor