Arts and Entertainment

It’s odd how many collaborative teams wrote sparkling comedy together but not drama; John Wells teamed with John Bird for a series of inspired political duologues called “The Long Johns”, which managed to predict the seriousness of the banking crisis, while John Fortune and John Wells found common ground to produce a now-forgotten surreal comic masterpiece.

Monty and Poulter in mix Down Under

Colin Montgomerie and Ian Poulter are three shots off the lead after the second round of the Johnnie Walker Classic in Perth, Australia yesterday. Scotland’s Montgomerie shot a two-under 70 while England’s Poulter returned a three-under 69. American Anthony Kang (67) and Ireland’s Damien McGrane (68) share the lead on 10 under par. England’s David Howell is six under, while countrymen Lee Westwood and Paul Casey are five off the pace.

John Humphrys

In a report on the events behind David Frost's interview with Richard Nixon in yesterday's Independent, we published an article, " I never agree that certain subjects are off-limits". This was bylined "by John Humphrys". We should make it clear this was not an article written by Mr Humphrys, but a report of what he had said to our interviewer. Apologies.

£20bn state bailout for smaller firms is not enough, says CBI

Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, has insisted that he is offering "real help" for small and medium-sized businesses bearing the brunt of the credit crunch, despite criticism of the measures he unveiled.

Business aid package 'unveiled in days'

Ministers are about to announce measures to help small and medium sized businesses that are having difficulty getting access to credit, Downing Street said today.

Brown launches jobs plan as 3,000 more face the dole

Businesses offered £2,500 bonus for recruiting and training unemployed staff.

MEPs vote to scrap working hours opt-out

The European Parliament voted today to scrap Britain's opt-out from the maximum 48-hour working week.

Small business lending forum announced

The Government today announced the creation of a forum for small businesses to address the problem of curbs on lending.

Energy saving 'a high priority for firms'

Firms have made over £1bn worth of energy savings in the past year as environmental issues have risen up the business agenda, according to a new report today.

Brown faces a £7.5bn black hole

New figures reveal public finance shortfall

Look beyond London, urges British Chambers

One in four British companies has already begun to feel the effects of the credit crunch on the running of their businesses, the British Chambers of Commerce said yesterday, but the business group also claimed that the economy was being much less seriously affected outside London.

Last Night's TV: A tragicomic postcard from the edge

Poppy Shakespeare, Channel 4; Marty Feldman – Six Degrees of Separation, BBC1

BA chief warns passengers of further delays at new terminal

British Airways' chief executive, Willie Walsh, has insisted he will not be resigning, as he warned passengers using Heathrow's Terminal 5 that they faced more travel misery this weekend. Despite another day of cancelled flights yesterday after hundreds of travellers were forced to spend the night at the airport, Mr Walsh pleaded for more time to allow his staff to adapt to the "quirks" of the new system.

BAA reveals proposal to double size of Stansted

Campaigners have criticised proposals to double the size of the UK's third-busiest airport, Stansted, labelling them "beyond environmental vandalism".

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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
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
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