News Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond presents the White Paper for Scottish independence

Scotland's First Minister will have face-to-face talks with the latest Bank of England governor for the first time

A man casting his vote for Mali’s next president in Timbuktu

High turnout in Mali’s first election since coup

The West African nation of Mali voted in presidential elections on Sunday just 16 months after the country descended into chaos in the wake of a coup led by mid-ranking army officials.

Simon Read: The latest Equitable Life failure is unbelievable

More than 200,000 people who lost money in the collapse of Equitable Life may miss out on compensation because of serious failings by the Government.

200,000 victims of Equitable Life collapse may miss out on compensation after Atos slips up again

Under-fire contractor and Treasury criticised by MPs for running ‘arbitrary’ scheme

Postcard from... Lauenberg

George Osborne wants to ease the credit squeeze

George Osborne's '£1bn boost' for firms has lent out only £5m

Small print reveals the truth behind the Business Finance Partnership

Opposition leader Sam Rainsy, centre, in Phnom Penh

Thousands cheer return of exiled opposition leader

Cambodian ex-finance minister expected to spearhead election fight against prime minister

Phillippa Williamson stepped down as SFO chief executive in 2012

Revealed: Serious Fraud Office chief who worked at home spent £100,000 on travel costs

Phillippa Williamson was allowed to run up bill in deal criticised as ‘quite astounding’ by MPs

The IMF raised UK economic growth forecast to 0.9% but has cut its prediction for global growth

IMF raises UK economic growth forecast to 0.9% but cuts prediction for global growth

Boost for George Osborne's deficit-busting plans as it almost entirely reverses the IMF's earlier growth forecast cuts

Portugal's economy in crisis as two ministers resign from coalition government

The junior People's Party prompts political and economic crisis over austerity split

Government spending on flood defences slammed by MPs

Commons environment committee demands more money to protect vulnerable people across the country

The size of the Territorial Force is to rise to 30,000

Army reserves to become cyber security and intelligence specialists - and receive more benefits

As Territorial Army numbers double, force will counter new threats posed by insurgency

“This is not an election pitch,” George Osborne insisted on the morning after his government-wide Spending Review
George Osborne praised Eric Pickles, pictured, as

Eric Pickles' Communities Department - charged with getting local council budgets under control - fined for £217m unauthorised overdraft

Margaret Hodge describes department finances as 'a shocking example of incompetence'

Christine Lagarde accused over Bernard Tapie ‘fraud’

France Telecom’s CEO has said the IMF chief, Christine Lagarde, was fully briefed before approving a “fraudulent” arbitration process that saw the tycoon Bernard Tapie awarded a huge payout in 2008.

Louise Casey pictured in 2011 walking with David Cameron

'We must improve services or troubled families will blight society' says Troubled Families 'tsar' Louise Casey

Troubled families will only have their lives improved and stop blighting communities if “troubled” local services are improved as well, the official in charge of the Government’s work in the area warned on Monday.

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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