News The more modern town of Salford, where the latest investment of the English Cities Fund is expected to be announced

Could Britain’s chronic housing shortage be solved by using insurers’ assets? Jamie Dunkley and Russell Lynch report

Simon English: Is there any way back for the banks after this blow to moral authority?

Outlook It is easy to be holier than thou when writing about banks. Not to mention fun. Even Mafia bosses are presently raising their eyebrows, à la Sir Mervyn King, at the ongoings at Standard Chartered, Barclays and the rest, and wondering just how these guys got away with it for so long.

Property/Stamp duty hike reduces sales

The Chancellor's Budget stamp duty raid on homes worth more than £2m has triggered a 23 per cent fall in sales of properties valued between £2m and £10m in the capital, the estate agency Knight Frank said yesterday.

Leading article: A damning judgment on the SFO

It is difficult to overstate the seriousness of the debacle that was the Serious Fraud Office's high-profile investigation of the property tycoons Vincent and Robert Tchenguiz. Indeed, the High Court judgment against the SFO yesterday represents a wholesale challenge to the competence and, worse still, good faith of the organisation which investigates and prosecutes complex fraud cases in the UK.

Billionaire property magnate Vincent Tchenguiz

Vincent Tchenguiz warrants to be set aside

Search warrants issued to the Serious Fraud Office against property magnates Robert and Vincent Tchenguiz are to be set aside.

The Spotlight On: Mary Schapiro, chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission

The world's most powerful female regulator?

Safe-haven seekers propel prime London house prices to new highs

Property prices in prime central London locations jumped by 0.7 per cent to a new record in May as wealthy Europeans flocked to the capital looking for a safe haven for their money amid the Eurozone crisis.

Weavering boss Magnus Peterson guilty of fraud

Magnus Peterson, the head of the collapsed hedge fund business Weavering, has been found in the High Court to have defrauded investors and ordered to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

Small talk: Now is the time for Britain's small businesses to be brave

Britain's small and medium-sized enterprises have much to worry about as the European sovereign debt crisis spirals out of control once more. When the banks shut up shop again in a full-blown repeat of the first credit crunch – as they surely will if Greece walks – you can bet it will be SMEs that are starved of debt first, whatever financiers say in public.

Mark Steel: Austerity? Actually there is an alternative

Until now the argument has been that there's no alternative. We have to slash public spending and wages because there's so much debt that otherwise there'll be chaos. The joy of this is it saves having to make a case for your actions, so it ought to be used more often. Journalists accused of phone hacking could say: "I had no choice but to listen to a dead soldier's voicemail because otherwise there'd be chaos. Just look at Greece, they didn't hack any phones and look at the mess they're in."

Mark Steel: Starve the Greeks and they'll feel better

The bill for rubber stamps alone comes to twice that of the defence budget

Don Lewin started Clinton Cards in the 1960s

Clinton Cards: The shop that played its hand wrong

Don Lewin turned £500 into a huge gift-shop empire. But Clinton Cards failed to adapt to the internet age – and now may be forced to fold

GMG and Apax boosted by deal at Top Right

Guardian Media Group and Apax Partners have received a boost from their troubled investment in the media giant formerly known as Emap as they offloaded its car data business CAP for an estimated £175m yesterday.

Africa Funky Fairtrade: Bra top £25, and trousers £40, Asos Africa, from 30 April, asos.com

A Magic Formula: Recession-proof collections from Asos

As fashion site Asos launches three new collections, Harriet Walker takes a look at a recession-proof shopping phenomenon

Spotlight On... Gerald Grosvenor, 6th Duke of Westminster

So the Duke of Westminster has fallen on hard times?

Golden goodbyes for Premier bosses

A trio of senior bosses at the Oxo-to-Hovis giant Premier Foods left with a total of £1.4m in extra payments last year, following a management shake-up of the struggling business.

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Barn owls are among species that could be affected
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Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
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After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas