News

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.

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.

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

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
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices