Voices

On a recent trip to Paris, I noticed that the French are really quite tardy about taking down their Christmas decorations. I can't speak for the private homes of individuals, but in the streets, there they were, twinkling on against January's grey skies.

Greene King sees record sales over Christmas period

Brewer and pub owner Greene King today said it enjoyed its best-ever Christmas and New Year.

The new chair of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen

We know recovery exists, just not what it looks like

The upturn is a strange beast, with patchy strength and a tendency to hide from some of us. Still, the good news is that it seems to be here to stay

Online sales growing at fastest rate in three years as high street suffers

Web sales growth in December accelerated to 19.2%, the fastest rate for more than three years

Bath prop David Wilson's calf injury leaves England short of options for the France game

Six Nations 2014: Injured trio could return for Ireland match

Stuart Lancaster believes three of England's orthopaedically challenged brigade – the Northampton full-back Ben Foden, the London Irish wing Marland Yarde and the Bath prop David Wilson – may return to fitness in time for the mid-point match of the Six Nations Championship, against Ireland at Twickenham on 22 February. The head coach did not say so openly, but he would surely take Wilson over the other two at this stage of proceedings.

Shuruq, ridden by Silvestre de Sousa, wins the Al-Maktoum Challenge Round One in Godolphin's second colours

Shuruq shows old Godolphin virtues to open Dubai Carnival

Godolphin threw down the gauntlet on the opening of day of the Dubai Carnival with two runners who recently emerged from a six-month ban resulting from the Mahmood al-Zarooni steroid scandal – and were instantly rewarded in Round One of the appropriately named Al-Maktoum Challenge, but with a filly beyond reproach in Shuruq.

Greggs returns to sales growth after strong Christmas- but plans to cut 410 jobs

Baker Greggs saw a 3.1 per cent rise in sales in the five-week festive period. But it still piled gloom onto staff by warning that up to 410 jobs are to be axed to save money.

Last year the use of mephedrone, also dubbed meow meow or MCAT, was reported to be soaring

Student home from university ‘cut off his own penis and stabbed his mother while high on mephedrone’

Police described both as stable after they were rushed to hospital with life-threatening – and in the teenager’s case, apparently self-inflicted – wounds

RSA blames £200m hole on 'inappropriate collaboration' between bosses in Irish business

Probe finds “inappropriate collaboration” between bosses in the insurers Irish busines

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in the Marks and Spencer's Christmas ad

M&S disappoints after clothing sales decline for 10th consecutive quarter as rival Ted Baker surges

Both are retailers keen to offer top-end, high-quality clothing at affordable prices to affluent and aspiring shoppers.

Slide in sales wipes 31 per cent off Mothercare

Mothercare suffered a humiliating setback to its plans for a turnaround in its UK business as the baby and childrenswear business issued a shock profit warning.

Mothercare shares slide 30% after profit warning

Shock profit warning sent shares crashing more than 30 per cent

Eat, drink and be very extravagant: UK shoppers embrace Waitrose and Sainsbury’s high-end brands

Shopping habits show Britons are regaining a taste for the finer things in life

The pope has a lamb put around his neck by a woman dressed as a character from the nativity scene at Church of St Alfonso Maria dei Liguori in the outskirts of Rome

Pope visits Nativity re-enactment

Swinson criticised the fact that MPs do not automatically get maternity leave

Babies and the House of Commons: an impossible juggling act and a bad model for the country

David Cameron wants to make Britain family friendly but Westminster is a notoriously bad place to be a parent – as MP Jo Swinson revealed this week. Sarah Morrison reports

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in the Marks and Spencer's Christmas ad

No 'Magic and Sparkle' for M&S as retailer expected to reveal another fall in clothing sales

Chief executive Marc Bolland has yet to report a successful Christmas sales period

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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
The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
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Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

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Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
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Kelis interview

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Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
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Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

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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