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Olympus paid $2 billion (£1.3 billion) for Gyrus and ran up the world’s biggest takeover advisory fee

Attorney General hints BP's partners may face criminal investigation

Transocean, the Swiss owner of the doomed Gulf of Mexico rig, faces the wrath of Americans as the cost of oil catastrophe reaches $3bn

Birthday Honours: Sundries

Queen's Police Medal (QPM)

David Andrew Crompton. Deputy chief Constable, West Yorkshire Police.

On The Road: The marvels of modern rock art on Dorset's Jurassic Coast

I love a good pebble. Smooth to the touch and totally individual. They've become synonymous with calm: used in Zen gardens, wallpaper on iPhones and by designers on tablemats to bring the outside in. In Lyme Regis, there's a whole beach of them. And on this beach I found Adrian Gray (pictured above) engrossed in the fine art of stone balancing. Not just pebbles in this case, but huge, back-wrenching stones that he somehow rests on one another at incredible angles. It really is a case of "how does he do that?". Is it sticky tape, magic or spiritualism? Well none of these. As Adrian says: "It's a paradox of fragility and solidity. These are really heavy stones, balanced in a very, very fragile way. It's the illusionary quality that makes it so magical. Your brain is telling you that's not possible, while your eyes say it is."

Fraudster jailed for £34m Ponzi scheme

Conman who defrauded 8,500 investors lived lavish lifestyle

Billions in US public money 'spent in Iran'

Details emerge of billions awarded by the US to firms dealing with Tehran

Johann Hari: The worst thing about Ashcroft is that his behaviour is legal

Contrary to the claims of apologists, there is nothing inevitable about tax exiles

Dick Francis: Champion jockey and best-selling thriller writer

Dick Francis sampled vivid peril as a bomber pilot and steeplechase jockey. He then gave millions of readers a flavour of his experiences, as author of nearly 40 best-selling adventures – creating a fictional world that could not be dismissed as fanciful, so long as it was measured against his own life.

Dick Francis, champion jockey turned thriller-writer, dies at 89

Racing world remembers best-selling author who triumphed over adversity. Mark Hughes reports

Thriller writer Dick Francis dies aged 89

Dick Francis, the champion jockey turned best-selling thriller writer, has died at the age of 89, his family said today.

Leading article: Frozen fun

Squeeze into the Lycra, don that helmet and sharpen those skates, for the Winter Olympics are upon us. The frozen Games never get the same attention as their summer counterpart, which is very unfair considering the range of attractions on offer, from the psychotic madness of the skeleton and the bobsleigh, to the rather more relaxed (though no less competitive) charms of curling.

Best for island escapes: Cyprus

From up there, you can see everything," said the speedboat's grizzled captain, pointing skywards with a grin and a wink. And with that, he snapped me into my parachute, leant on the boat's throttle – and lifted me gently from the deck and into the air, attached only by the slenderest of ropes to the back of his craft as it bounced through the waves beneath me.

Kings of Convenience, Barbican, London

Easy pickings from lo-fi royalty

Pearl's listing delayed by accounts rules

Insurers' London float plan in doubt as financial reporting switch continues. Simon Evans reports

Alan Blinder: An absolute Blinder

An economist who says the US government has played its cards perfectly remains fully optimistic

Carragher's title aim may be wide of mark

Liverpool's defensive linchpin still has eyes on that elusive medal but the Reds squad doesn't look strong enough to finish on top.
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Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
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Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain