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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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Independent Travel
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 15 May 2015
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference