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

Margaret Hodge described some of the payments as 'obscene'

£28m bill for ‘gagging’ ex-public officials

Civil servants receive large severance payments for signing ‘compromise agreements’ on exit

Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court

Senior judges criticise Government's use of secret courts

Judges also lifted 'arbitrary and irrational' sanctions imposed against Iranian Bank Mellat

Robert Mugabe has agreed to push back the date for elections in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe in electoral climbdown as he agrees to push back date of vote from end of July

Robert Mugabe has acceded to regional pressure and agreed to push back the date for elections in Zimbabwe. The 89-year-old president had risked a constitutional crisis by using special powers to announce polls on 31 July.

GCHQ 

British spies at GCHQ 'spied on foreign politicians at G20 summit meetings in London'

An intensive spying operation was mounted by Britain’s secret intelligence agencies on foreign politicians attending two G20 summit meetings in London in 2009, it has been claimed.

Free museums to be spared worst of budget cuts

Britain’s publically funded museums are to be spared from the worst of the Government’s spending cuts, the Chancellor George Osborne is preparing to announce.

Mr Miliband said the Coalition's 2015-16 budget would be the 'starting point' for a three-year cap on social security spending imposed by the next Labour government

A Labour government would mean benefits squeeze, under Ed Miliband's welfare cap

Breaking the link between benefits and inflation would be highly controversial for the party

Utility companies accused of attempting to claw back £900m worth of unjustified tax rebates as part of accountancy scam

After recent tax fiascos involving Starbucks, Amazon and Google, the Chancellor has acted quickly to block any funds draining from the Treasury

Chancellor George Osborne still needs to tackle £8bn black hole after treasury agrees 10% spending cuts with seven Government departments

These departments only account for around 20 per cent of the cuts George Osborne needs to make

IMF managing director Christine Lagarde evades fraud accusation

The IMF chief Christine Lagarde escaped a formal accusation of fraud after two days of interrogation by a special court in France.

James Moore: The IMF is backing a plan B for Britain

Outlook Talking of the IMF, its main reason for being in town yesterday was to give its view on the current state of the UK's economy.

Vodafone tells tax critics it more than pays its way

Vodafone hit back over accusations of tax avoidance yesterday, insisting that it made an "absolutely huge" contribution to the UK Treasury, as the British mobile giant unveiled a big slump in annual pre-tax profits.

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Mud wrestling is only entertaining now and again

Oh, how they laughed. Explaining George Osborne’s absence from Treasury Questions, Chief Secretary Danny Alexander was on side-splitting form. “My right honourable friend the Chancellor is in Brussels today at the Ecofin council,” he told MPs, “exercising the considerable influence that Britain enjoys as a full member of the European Union.” Boom, boom!

Eurozone finance ministers in banking union showdown

Eurozone finance ministers were last night squabbling in Brussels over the timetable for a banking union, with some states pushing for faster progress and Germany stressing the need for caution.

Osborne has paid lip service to tackling tax havens, but when will the hard work actually start?

Ten of the world’s tax havens are UK-linked territories - the British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies. The clue is in the names.

Jack Lew’s previous squiggle of a signature, above, and the new one, below

Treasury boss who drove President Obama loopy hits on a new signature for bank notes

When US President Barack Obama nominated Jack Lew as the new Secretary of the US Treasury in January, the media had one overwhelming concern about the appointment: Lew’s illegible signature, which resembles the doodle of an absent-minded child, would now appear on every US banknote.

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Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
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Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
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Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
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Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
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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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick