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The cost of insuring against a catastrophic US default jumped to its  highest level in more than two years today after talks to prevent a breach of the nation’s $16.7 trillion (£10.5 trillion) debt ceiling faltered.

Portugal’s debt cut to junk in new euro crisis

Christine Lagarde began her first day as the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday facing a new eurozone crisis after the Moody's credit-rating agency consigned Portugal's debt status to junk.

Margareta Pagano: Eastward ho! Go on LSE, carve out a new silk route

I'm not at all surprised or the least bit disappointed that London Stock Exchange's attempt to buy Canada's TMX stock exchange has fallen through. Takeovers between exchanges are famously difficult to achieve as they are such political creatures, if not quasi-national institutions, which inevitably leads to protectionism, if not sentimentality, as the Canadians so vividly demonstrated.

Business Diary: Tepper defends his reputation

Hedge fund manager DavidTepper was yesterday forced to deny suggestions that he was the customer who withdrew $400 (£250) from a bank in the Hamptons. The gentleman in question left his receipt behind and some wit has now published a picture of it.

David Prosser: Equitable Life: An object lesson in how to fail at financial regulation

This will not be the end of the campaign for justice by Equitable savers – and we should not pretend that they have had anything but a raw deal

Lagarde confirmed as head of IMF – and first woman in post

The French Finance minister, Christine Lagarde, was last night named as the new managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and will begin her term of office on 5 July.

Christine Lagarde set to become new IMF boss

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde is poised to become the next leader of the scandal-rocked International Monetary Fund, with a major endorsement from the Obama administration.

Business Diary: Rambourg's act of charity

Another moral victory for Guillaume Rambourg, the star investment manager for whom it all went wrong at Gartmore last year. You will remember he was suspended over allegations of trading irregularities, but subsequently cleared – the affair contributed to a plummet in Gartmore's value and it was eventually sold to Henderson. Now Rambourg has moved his entire stake in Henderson (Gartmore was paid for in paper) into a charitable foundation he runs together with his wife.

Business Diary: The French paint a picture in IMF race

As the final two candidates in the race to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn as head of the International Monetary Fund near the finishing line, their respective supporters are stepping up their campaigns. Especially in France, our correspondents tell us, where every article about the contest features a picture of finance minister Christine Lagarde looking slim and athletic as well as a wide-angle shot of her rival, Mexico's Agustin Carstens, which shows him in his full, corpulent glory. The message about who is more fit to govern the IMF is not even subliminal.

IMF board refusal boost for Lagarde's bid

The International Monetary Fund's board has blocked Bank of Israel governor Stanley Fischer from the race for the top IMF job, further boosting the chances of French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde.

Business Diary: Fischer's bid over before it started

We'd be the last ones to indulge in ageism, but we can't help wondering whether Stanley Fischer, the Bank of Israel Governor barred from standing for election as head of the International Monetary Fund for being too old, was his own worst enemy. Aged 67, he has argued that the age limit of 65 is no longer appropriate, but if you want to show that you're still sprightly and on the ball, filing your job application late is hardly the best way to go about it.

Business Diary: Billions of reasons for Scots to stay

The rise and rise of the Scottish National Party has got the Institute of Economic Affairs thinking about Scottish independence – and not in a good way. The IEA's message to the Scots is that if they want to break away from the rest of the UK, they'll have to take their share of the national debt with them. It reckons £110bn, around 10 per cent of the total, is fair because that's Scotland's share of spending. That should give Alec Salmond, the nationalist leader, something to think about.

Anti-capitalist hackers in the frame as IMF reveals cyber attack

Organisation reveals it has been under assault for months
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
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12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?