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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project