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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.

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.

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: 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
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
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From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
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Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
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Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power