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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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen