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My Week If there was any justice in the financial world, the people who run the big debt rating agencies would be hanging from lamp-posts along with the investment bankers for the way in which their activities contributed to the 2008 financial crash. But they emerged pretty well unscathed, barring a few uncomfortable sessions before congressional committees. Politicians threatened all sorts of legislative nasties at the time, but it turned out to be all sound and fury signifying not very much.

Five Questions About: Credit cards

The Business On... Jules Kroll, Founder of Kroll Inc

Even the name causes a shiver

Irish debt downgrade raises fears of international deflation spiral

The colossal expense of rescuing Ireland's troubled banking sector has hit the republic's international credit rating once again.

David Prosser: 'Deficit deniers' are not the problem: it's the debt extremists we should fear

Outlook This is becoming rather tiresome. It may make for good knockabout politics, but George Osborne cannot simply go on dismissing all critics of the Coalition Government's cuts as "deficit deniers", as he did yesterday. That phrase was particularly unfortunate given its connotations, but the underlying issue is the growing concern about the programme upon which the Chancellor has embarked and the fact that Mr Osborne dismisses it so cheaply.

The Last Word: Another Chinese takeaway leaves a bitter taste

Liverpool need a saviour and are praying that new 'King Kenny' fits the bill – but the game shoots itself in the foot with abject fit-and-proper-person test

David Prosser: China plots a move into credit ratings

Outlook Given the kicking the three big American credit-ratings agencies have taken for their failures during the financial crisis, they can hardly be surprised to see would-be rivals emerging. There is already talk of the launch of a new European agency, but the greater threat to Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch might come from China.

Moody's warns of worse to come as it cuts Portugal rating

Portugal was dealt a blow yesterday as Moody's cut its credit rating, warning the economy would weaken further in the next few years.

Poll result puts Japan's credit rating at risk

The ratings agency Standard & Poor's warned yesterday that it might cut Japan's sovereign grade as the ruling party's mauling in a weekend election created new hurdles for the plans of the new Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, to cut huge public debt.

DVD: Leap Year (PG)

Amy Adams's credit rating plunges in this offensively unfunny dross. She plays Anna, an uptight Bostonian who pursues her smug doctor boyfriend (Adam Scott) to Dublin in order to propose to the dullard.

Fitch: Budget boost to UK's AAA credit rating

The UK's gold-plated AAA credit rating received a major boost today after ratings agency Fitch said Chancellor George Osborne's Budget would "materially strengthen confidence" in the nation's public finances.

US bank tells traders not to sign long-term deals with BP after credit rating dives

One of Wall Street's biggest banks has told its traders not to sign any contracts with BP that last more than a year, as concerns over its financial position continued to buffet the market.

BP credit rating cut amid oil spill cost fears

Beleaguered oil giant BP came under more pressure today after its credit rating was cut amid fears over the soaring cost of the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

General strike on the cards as Spain's credit rating falls

Threats of a general strike in Spain intensified this weekend following Friday's decision by the credit agency Fitch Ratings to downgrade the country's debt from AAA to AA+.

David Prosser: How Wall Street played the system

Slowly but surely, America's justice system is waking up to the idea that there is some mileage in going after the banks at the centre of the financial crash of 2008. Hot on the heels of the Goldman Sachs SEC charges comes an investigation by the New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo into whether eight Wall Street banks misled the big credit ratings agencies so they would give the mortgage securities at the centre of the collapse a clean bill of health.

Markets mixed as coalition comes to power in Westminster

The markets were mixed as the UK's new coalition government took shape yesterday, with shares and gilts rising on hopes of swift action on the yawning budget deficit, but sterling falling against the euro and the dollar after the Bank of England issued dovish growth and inflation forecasts.

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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
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'