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The Prime Minister is leading the largest ever trade delegation to China. But what value do these junkets really deliver?

Sean O'Grady: China will overtake America, the only question is when

Few things would be more powerfully symbolic of the shift in the balance of global economic power than to have oil traded in the Chinese renminbi rather than the American dollar.

Vermeer's Hat, By Timothy Brook

The way that Timothy Brook teases out trade routes, struggles for power and the delicate dance of international relations from an image of a hat or a china bowl is truly mesmerising. In this accessible but authoritative study, he relies on five paintings by Vermeer (and Girl with a Pearl Earring isn't one of them) for his history of the Dutch reach for global power, and shows, better than anyone I've read so far, the truly subversive power of detail – especially when it's brought to the fore instead of filling in the background.

China probes internet bootcamp after teen dies

Chinese police are investigating a bootcamp for Internet addicts after a teenage boy died, apparently following a severe beating, just hours after checking in, the official Xinhua news agency said late on Wednesday.

17 dead after building collapses in China

An unfinished factory building collapsed amid a violent thunderstorm today in northern China, killing 17 people, state media and a government official said.

Death toll in China riots rises to 192

State media reports the death toll for July 5 ethnic riots in western China has risen to 192.

Stephen King: China takes small steps towards breaking the sway of the US dollar

For nations sitting on piles of dollar assets, the fall in the dollar's value is hardly good news

Brothers, By Yu Hua

Blood-soaked scenes from China's crisis

Hamish McRae: Renminbi on the way to being the world's most important currency

Economic Life: The road to a world of multiple reserve currencies will be a bumpy one, and people will get hurt

China Witness, By Xinran

Today China speaks to the world, louder and in more mixed voices than ever before. But what of the "silent generation" of elders whose burden of loss and regret makes them all-but inaudible ghosts at the boom-time feast?

Geithner reassures Chinese their dollar assets are safe

US Treasury Secretary politely asks rulers to devalue nation's currency

China reacts angrily to US military report

China has criticised a newly released US report on Beijing's growing military power as a "gross distortion" and interference in its affairs.

John Rentoul: I love the sound of breaking china

Now, this is most enjoyable. David Cameron's stealthy acceptance of Labour's plan to impose a new 45 per cent rate of tax on incomes over £150,000 a year from April 2011 has thrown the Conservatives into a blue funk.

Games Review: My Chinese Coach

DS, Ubisoft, £19.99

Jeremy Warner: Exchange rates reignite fears of protectionism

Outlook: Exchange rate worries swept back on to the international agenda this week with a leading financier opining that the pound was "finished", various eurozone nations expressing concern over sterling's dramatic devaluation, the new US Treasury Secretary accusing the Chinese of "manipulating" their currency to prevent it appreciating against the dollar, and the Japanese hinting at renewed currency intervention to stop the yen rising any further.

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Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...