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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor