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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.

Sean O'Grady: A bailout is on the way, if the markets are to be believed

When it comes to bewildering financial crises it is usually best to start with the crisp wisdom of Nouriel Roubini, the man who called the credit crunch right. Mr Roubini said this week, bluntly, that Ireland is "on a path to near or complete insolvency". In response, Irish ministers bleat that "we're fully funded until mid-2011". Big deal. If you'd lent someone money to buy a house and they'd said that they were OK for cash until next summer, but after that things might get a bit hairy, how reassured would you be?

Botched cabinet reshuffle gives Sarkozy's rivals new strength

President Nicolas Sarkozy last night announced a new government largely restricted to his own tribe of the centre-right, abandoning his policy of "ouverture" to the left, centre and racial minorities.

French strikes ease as unions move towards talks

Oil refinery strikes in France against an unpopular pension reform lost steam yesterday, with walkouts ending at several plants and unions sounding keener on talks with employers than pursuing the showdown.

More strikes ramp up pressure on Sarkozy

French truck drivers said they planned to block key roads from yesterday evening and rail unions announced new strikes from today, putting fresh pressure on President Nicolas Sarkozy over his unpopular pension reforms.

How French regime sealed takeover of British utility giant

Turning International Power into a global leader should have been straightforward – instead it became a drama

Sarkozy steps into France's Anelka row

The president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, has asked his sports minister Roselyne Bachelot to meet with the key people involved in the bitter national team row which has wrecked their World Cup chances.

Cracks appear in EU unity as fears spread for future of the eurozone

Europe's governments struggled to mask sharp differences yesterday even as they backed new sanctions for indebted countries in the battle to prevent a debt crisis from spiralling into an emergency that threatens the very survival of the euro.

The Sketch: There's one thing we can teach the French: 'results-based' rhetoric

There is no word for "grandeur" in English. That's what we're up against over here. They have Versailles, we have Buckingham Palace. They have the Louvre, we have the National Gallery. They have the Elysée Palace, we have Downing Street. They have Christine Lagarde, we have (to cheat a bit) Vince Cable.

SocGen beats forecasts with €1.1bn profit

Société Généerale announced forecast-beating net profits of €1.1bn (£940m) for the first-quarter yesterday, helped by its investment banking division and fewer provisions on bad loans. The French banking giant said it anticipated a "sustainable rebound" this year and was "confident" that it could meet profits forecasts of €3bn for 2010.

Implicit German guarantee helps Greece raise €1.5bn from investors

The Greek rescue package passed its first test easily yesterday when the latest auction of that country's government debt was heavily oversubscribed.

Darling stakes his claim to proceeds of levy on banks

Chancellor backs calls for tax on banking assets but rejects insurance fund

Ministers to pay price for Sarkozy's woes

President likely to ask for new government to be formed after poll results

Sarkozy's cronies make song and dance of it

Political video by youth wing of President's party spawns internet spoofs

Investment banks set for bonus curb talks

Lord Myners to call in global groups to follow UK banks' lead over pay
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Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn