Arts and Entertainment

'A puzzling argument on the value of economics'

David Cameron (top centre) at a cabinet meeting in Leeds today. The PM sayts he is detemined to push ahead with HS2

Snow hits rate of sales growth at John Lewis

John Lewis sounded the alarm bell for Britain's retailers yesterday when it warned that snow had hit sales.

Last Night's Viewing: Bob Servant Independent, BBC4
Life after War: Haunted by Helmand, BBC3

Bob Servant apparently owes his existence to email scammers. Like Henry Root, Willie Donaldson's imaginary letter writer, Servant was Neil Forsyth's alter ego in writing to online swindlers and con men, responding to them with a garrulous energy that drove even the most persistent of them to the point of distraction in the end.

BSA boss Coles set to stand down

Adrian Coles, the director-general of the Building Societies Association, has revealed plans to stand down once a successor can be found for him, probably later this year.

Traders' email messages give frauds away, study shows

Rogue traders capable of losing banks and other financial institutions billions in illegal or unauthorised transactions could be caught before their losses soar too high by analysing their email exchanges with colleagues, new research has found.

Shrinking in services rings alarm for a triple-dip recession

Fears of a triple-dip recession were stoked yesterday after an alarming new survey revealed the UK's powerhouse services sector contracting for the first time in two years.

James Moore: And you thought the OBR's forecasts were meant to be right?

Outlook Remember when the Office for Budget Responsibility was set up? There was a big song and dance about how it would provide clean and independent fiscal forecasts that would help to prevent governments from fiddling the figures, an accusation repeatedly levelled at Gordon Brown's administration – and most of its predecessors at some point.

Arm’s length: Doris Day and John Raitt in the 1957 romantic comedy The Pajama Game

Love's big secret? Play hard to get

That's the strategy used by both men and women to test a potential partner's commitment, claims new research

What the Sunday Papers said…

The Independent on Sunday: Chancellor will need to use 'dark arts' to meet targets

Dr King, our finances need a shot in the arm

Sir Mervyn King took a break from the woes of the economy yesterday as the Bank of England Governor picked up an honorary doctor of civil law degree from the University of Kent.

Eurozone downturn set to gather pace

The eurozone is on course for a deepening recession in the final quarter of 2012 as the worst slump in activity for more than three years looms. The financial data provider Markit's snapshot of manufacturing and services output across the region – where a score under 50 signals contraction – was stuck at 45.8 in November, close to its lowest since June 2009.

Bank's funding scheme boosts mortgage market at last

The Bank of England's Funding for Lending scheme is finally breathing life into a largely moribund mortgage market after a 14 per cent jump in home loans in October, the Council of Mortgage Lenders said yesterday.

What the Sunday Papers said

The Independent on Sunday: Critics of Big Four audit firms see evidence of 'closed shop'

Norton Rose merger to make it No 3

The chief executive of the London-based legal group Norton Rose has predicted the emergence of "15 or 20 truly global law firms" after announcing a merger with the US group Fulbright & Jaworski. Peter Martyr said that the combination will create the world's third biggest law firm.

Merger seeks scale to take on 'big four'

The accountancy firm BDO, the sixth-biggest in Britain, is to merge with the UK arm of rival PKF, the ninth-biggest, to create a business with 3,500 staff and £400m in revenues that will aim to challenge the "big four" auditors.

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Day In a Page

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
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
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