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XL Media to float on AIM today

The Business Matrix: Saturday 4 January 2014

Hailo app grabs £20m in cab fares

Between The Sheets: What’s really going on in the world of books

Just to make you feel old, 2014 is the 25th anniversary of Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury’s classic children’s book, We’re Going On A Bear Hunt. “Swishy Swashy! Squelch Squelch! Hooo wooo!” and all the rest. The book has sold more than 8 million copies in 18 languages, but initially Rosen didn’t think that it would work: “The story seems to have originally been a folk song,” he says. “David Lloyd at Walker Books saw me perform it and asked me to write it down. So I added to the story and, 18 months later, I was stunned to see the beautiful pictures that Helen had created – the family adventure is from Helen’s imagination and I enjoy and admire the book almost as an outsider – but back then I couldn’t quite figure out how it would work as a book!” To celebrate, Walker will publish an anniversary edition in January and an interactive sound book in the summer, and in February the Royal Festival Hall in London will host a “promenade performance”, where children will be invited to dress up and take home a pair of bear ears. Oxenbury recalls illustrating the book: “Michael and I never met until after the book was finished, but what was wonderful about it was there was nothing described in a way that restricted me. I modelled the children and the dog on my own. The bear’s posture I modelled on a friend who had depression, with his dropped shoulders – I felt the bear was probably lonely and wanted company rather than eat the children!” So now we know. We’re not scared!

Ice-bound: Akademik Shokalskiy and passengers

Icebreakers fail to free Russian research ship stuck in the Antarctic

The penguins watching the increasingly bizarre multinational events unfolding in the Antarctic look rightly bemused.

An inquisitive Adelie Penguin next to the stranded ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which is trapped in the ice at sea off Antarctica

Rescue of Russian boat stuck in Antarctic ice delayed as Chinese icebreaker forced to turn back

The Chinese vessel has been forced to retreat after a failed attempt to reach the ship. A French vessel has already launched an abandoned rescue attempt

The Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy trapped in thick Antarctic ice, 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart, Australia

Chinese icebreaker heads to rescue Russian vessel stranded in Antarctica

A Russian ship that has been trapped in thick Antarctic ice since Christmas Eve is on the verge of being rescued as a Chinese icebreaker named the Snow Dragon draws near.

Villians
No shortage of controversial owners and chairmen; Cardiff's Vincent Tan may yet end up as one of the more villainous. On the pitch, being loyal Welsh internationals won't spare the likes of Craig Bellamy, Ashley Williams and others from dog's abuse.

Is Cardiff City's Vincent Tan the worst club owner in the history of football?

We take a look at the most controversial club owners to have graced football

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in a scene from 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug'

Film review: The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug (12A) - A puffed-up dragon, but no magic

Dir. Peter Jackson;  Starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, 161mins

Grace Dent on TV: Imagine – Who’s Afraid of Machiavelli?

Mr Memory, who was brought on Monday’s Newsnight to memorise the title sequence and couldn’t even remember that Jeremy bloke with the beard’s name. Gosh I love telly. 

Autumn internationals: Wales call up teenager Hallam Amos to face Tonga in 11 changes

Wales have made 11 changes for what will be Warren Gatland's 100th match as an international coach against Tonga at the Millennium Stadium on Friday, with Newport Gwent Dragons wing Hallam Amos making his debut and Ryan Jones replacing Sam Warburton as captain.

England full-back Sam Tomkins

Rugby League World Cup: England full-back Sam Tomkins picks out France's Morgan Escare as the dangerman ahead of quarter-final

The World Cup hosts meet France at the DW Stadium and home favourite Tomkins has identified hs opposite number as the man to watch

Astronaut gets sweet delivery as private company ships chocolate and other foodstuffs to International Space Station

A US company is making its debut this week as a space station delivery service – to provide the lone American aboard the orbiting International Space Station with a fresh stash of chocolate.

Hull 14 Catalan Dragons 4: Shaul shines to haul Hull past Dragons

Last month at Wembley, Jamie Shaul was denied a spectacular try that could have brought Hull back into the Cup final. Last night, the 20-year-old full-back claimed an equally good one to keep his club’s season alive.

Gareth Bale in action for Wales

Real Madrid warned that playing Gareth Bale for 90 minutes would be 'dangerous'

Wales manager Chris Coleman urges Spanish club to ease new signing in

Primark stars but sugar not so sweet for ABF

Primark is outperforming its peers but sugar looks a bit sticky, Associated British Foods said today.

Only 250,000 £20 coins are being issued

Five questions about: The £20 coin

Hang on, there is no £20 coin, is there?

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project