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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.

Chancellor George Osborne inched closer to meeting his deficit reduction targets today despite mounting fears over the strength of the economy

Public sector borrowing falls to £18.1bn

Chancellor George Osborne inched closer to meeting his deficit reduction targets today despite mounting fears over the strength of the economy.

Britain's AAA status is at risk, Moody's warns

The credit ratings agency Moody's last night warned Britain faces "formidable and rising challenges" to its treasured AAA status, but said it was not yet considering a downgrade.

Leading article: Mr Cameron has backed into a corner over Europe

From the last week's rising chorus of legal queries and political caveats, it would be easy to conclude that the latest effort to patch up the eurozone is falling apart before it has even come together. Better still, for David Cameron, would be the verdict that other countries' post-agreement equivocations vindicate his decision to veto the proposal.

UK worse off than France, says Francois Baron

France's finance minister took a swipe at the state of Britain's economy today hours after French experts predicted his own country would slide into a recession.

An independent girls’ school:
when parents can’t pay the fees grandparents or the schools themselves can offer help

Even the wealthy can be hit by a debt disaster

What happens when the school fees and BMW repayments can't be met? Neasa MacErlean on the middle-class poor

Lloyds Banking Group could see debt rating cut

Lloyds Banking Group was today warned its debt rating could be cut due to the sick leave of chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio.

Market Report: Ratings boost gives drugs firm Hikma a healthy glow

Investors were told to stop worrying about the Arab Spring and pile into Hikma yesterday. The Jordan-based generic drugs maker was driven up 35p to 665p after Morgan Stanley argued that despite recent conflicts, the pharmaceuticals market in North Africa and the Middle East remained on course to soar.

What George Osborne said – and what he really meant

"We are in debt crisis. You can't borrow your way out of debt"

Markets shrug off mixed signals as hopes of euro rescue deal spark rally

Stock markets bounced on hopes that European policymakers would finally tackle the debt crisis with decisive action yesterday, although the results of an Italian bond auction showed that nervousness continued to linger in the background.

ONS figures underline manufacturing slowdown

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics reinforce a picture of a significant slowdown in the UK manufacturing sector. Output edged up 0.1 per cent in July, after falling 0.4 per cent in June. And the ONS's overall index of production, which includes mining and energy industries, fell by 0.2 per cent over the month.

Moody's cuts its rating for Japan

Moody's cut its rating on Japan's government debt by one notch to Aa3 yesterday, blaming a build-up of debt since the 2009 global recession and revolving-door political leadership that has hampered effective economic strategies.

Japan sees credit rating downgraded

Moody's Investors Service downgraded Japan's credit rating, citing the country's weak growth prospects, massive government debt and constant political turmoil.

Keep it in the family, but avoid rifts with relations

More people are bypassing traditional lenders in favour of intergenerational loans. Roz Sanderson reports

Backlash over US downgrade

Standard & Poor's, the credit rating agency, is trying to forestall a backlash from local governments in the US, which were outraged when the company downgraded the US credit rating earlier this month.

When the price is not right: Why is a $50m record collection unable to sell for even a fraction of its value?

Sometimes unique items aren't worth what we think, discovers Phil Boucher
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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 1 May 2015
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before