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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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
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His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam