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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.

Insider dealers will not be charged for a year, says FSA

Financial watchdog is building case against those arrested in dawn raids

Fit and firing Nadal reaches the last four

The defending champion Rafael Nadal beat Tomas Berdych 6-4, 7-6 late on Thursday night in Indian Wells to reach the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open in his first tournament since returning from a six-week injury lay-off.

Nadal powers on at Indian Wells

Defending champion Rafael Nadal booked his place in the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells with a straight-sets win over Tomas Berdych.

Almagro collapse hands Murray victory

Andy Murray eased into the quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells after fourth-round opponent Nicolas Almagro was forced to retire with an ankle injury. Fourth seed Murray was leading 6-2, 1-0 when his unseeded Spanish opponent was forced to call it a day having already called a medical time out at the end of the first set. Next up for Murray is a tricky looking encounter with sixth-seeded Swede Robin Soderling.

Federer overcomes error-strewn display to see off Hanescu

Roger Federer made hard work of beating Victor Hanescu at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, on Sunday but eventually made it through to join Andy Murray in the third round.

Investment Column: An overview of Britain's banged-up banks

Sector view: Banks

Banks bid for £2bn Arriva deal

SNCF, the French national rail operator, will move closer to a £5bn-turnover merger with Arriva, the British Ftse 250 transport group, with the appointment of deal advisers this month.

Henin granted Indian Wells wildcard

Australian Open finalist and former world number one Justine Henin has been granted a wildcard place in next month's BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.

Abu Dhabi in for EDF asset

The auction for EDF Energy's electrical distribution business is expected to heat up after news emerged that Abu Dhabi, which has run the slide rule over the asset in the past, has held talks over a potential £5bn joint bid.

US economy recovering less quickly than forecast

The American economy grew less quickly in the third quarter of the year than official data has previously suggested, the US Commerce Department admitted yesterday, as new figures on house prices and consumer confidence suggested the country was coming out of recession only slowly.

EDF looks to cut debts with €4bn sale of UK electricity distribution business

The French energy company EDF may sell off part of its UK operation in a move that could raise more than €4bn to help it reduce its debts.

Madame Tussauds plans to remodel its future

The owner of Madame Tussauds, Merlin Entertainments Group, is believed to be in final preparations for a £2bn London Stock Exchange listing early next year.

Ian Birrell: Big men, bankers and the stench of corruption

We cracked down on terrorism, so why not on this larceny that kills far more people?

Sarkozy calls French banks to account

President Nicolas Sarkozy is to warn France's banks to stop paying big bonuses to traders.

Swiss UBS continues in the red as costs weigh

The Swiss banking giant UBS has failed to emulate some of its biggest rivals at home and abroad as it posted a third consecutive quarterly loss, hit by exceptional charges.

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Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?