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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.

Debt collectors pursued wrong people

Action has been taken against one of the UK's biggest debt collection agencies after it pursued the wrong people for money owed.

The Business On: Meredith Whitney, Meredith Whitney Advisory Group

The scourge of Wall Street?

Pension troubles remain for UK firms

British businesses are failing to reap any benefits from plugging their pension black holes, reveals a new report by Pricewaterhouse-Coopers.

Business Diary: Don't push your luck, Mervyn

It was brave of Mervyn King yesterday to compare the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee to England's cricket team, ready to attack or defend the next ball (or bout of inflation) depending on the line, length and pace of its delivery. Given the history of England teams and their collapses over the year, isn't the Governor rather tempting fate? Both for England's Ashes hopes in Australia this winter, and for the poor old British economy.

All Blacks will fight to the death for Mealamu

New Zealand today confirmed they will fight "to the death" against the four-week ban handed down to hooker Keven Mealamu for an apparent headbutt on England's Lewis Moody.

Simon Read: The battle to beat legal loan sharks hits Westminster

The battle against legal loan sharks hit Westminster this week when the Labour MP Stella Creasy's Consumer Credit Bill got the nod for a second reading next February. More excitingly, Stella has secured a debate on the Bill next Tuesday in Westminster Hall, where the Government will have to respond to her proposals.

Relief for Osborne on rare day of good news

George Osborne received a double helping of good news yesterday: better-than-expected figures on the strength of the recovery and an upgrade from the credit-ratings agency Standard & Poor.

Efficiency review finds 'staggering waste'

A review of Government efficiency by a leading businessman has uncovered a "staggering" waste of money, it was revealed today.

Errors in switching accounts put off customers

Fears over missed direct debit payments and administrative errors are stopping bank customers from switching current account providers according to Consumer Focus.

Urban myths: Has street art sold out?

As a new show dedicated to graffiti, stencils and spray paint opens, Matilda Battersby asks if such anarchic work really belongs in a gallery

David Prosser: Ireland can't wake from its nightmare

Outlook What can Ireland do to end the cycle of bad news? Last year, the Irish government risked social unrest with a series of austerity budgets ushering in swingeing spending cuts. They were not enough to reassure the bond markets, with investors spending much of this summer fretting about the mounting cost of bailing out Irish banks. In response, the government unveiled a new plan last week, based on worst-case scenarios, to tackle that crisis. It was praised by banking experts as realistic and achievable (though very unpleasant). But that wasn't enough to appease the credit rating agencies. Fitch cut its rating of Irish sovereign debt yesterday, while Moody's is considering following suit.

Debt collector Lowell for sale

Exponent Private Equity, the owner of debt collector Lowell Group, is set to appoint adviser Hawkpoint to sell the business.

Time called on debt management company rip-offs

Some firms fail to tell debtors that there are fees involved, let alone that there are free alternatives. Chiara Cavaglieri and Julian Knight report

Borrowing hits record ahead of Coalition cuts

The gaping hole in the public finances was laid bare yesterday after borrowing grew to a record level in August as interest payments on sovereign debt jumped in line with higher inflation.

Last Night's TV - Bouquet of Barbed Wire, ITV1; Grandma's House, BBC2

Family affairs are still hard to resist
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital