News Workers at mail-order company La Redoute protest in Lille against plans to sack 1,200 workers

3.2 million people are working so hard that they risked mental or physical breakdown, study finds

Calm start to Sydney to Hobart Race

First night frights were kept to a minimum in the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race.

Jobless total rises for first time in six months

The Government was given some grim pre-Christmas news on jobs today when unemployment increased by 35,000 and the number of young people out of work reached near-record levels.

3,000 police face early retirement threat

More than 3,000 of the most experienced police officers could be forced to retire early under a legal loophole, figures showed today.

Frankie Boyle: I Would Happily Punch Every One of You in the Face, New Theatre, Oxford

Who better, I thought, to shake us out of credit-crunch fatigue and the cuts commotion than the scything Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle? It's a last act of "kindness" before his early retirement from live performance, announced two years ago and which finally begins at the end of this tour.

Aegon staff braced for job cuts in UK overhaul

Aegon revealed plans to axe two businesses and warned of further job cuts under a sweeping overhaul of its UK arm yesterday.

Maassen's Corvette sets the pace on day of surprises to land pole position

The Corvette of Xavier Maassen and Jos Menten was the surprise winner of yesterday's FIA GT1 World Championship qualifying race at Spa, in a contest that succeeded in turning all previous form on its head.

Richards is new Chief of Defence Staff

The head of the Army, General Sir David Richards, has been appointed the next Chief of the Defence Staff.

The feral beast: Dacre's knighthood mystery

Those still coming to terms with the non-knighthood for Mail supremo Paul Dacre have been trying to console themselves.

The Sketch: Luck, judgement and old-fashioned politics

Why Danny? After David Laws we needed another Liberal as Chief Secretary and for reasons which no one has established we got Danny Alexander. Maybe his function is dinner. Maybe he's the fellow you take on the long escape march because you need something to eat halfway across the wilderness.

Sarkozy follows Europe in raising retirement age

The French, who have the youngest retirement age in Europe, will soon have to work longer to qualify for a full state pension. As unions called a nationwide strike to defend pension rights today, the government said that France could no longer afford the retirement age of 60 – for both men and women – which has existed since 1982.

Zenden's finish has hint of Van Basten

Sunderland 3 Tottenham Hotspur 1

How to quit while you're ahead: Lily's the sly, retiring type

She zoomed from obscurity to ubiquity, and now she's off. Or so she says. Lily Allen leaves them wanting more

Wealth Check: 'Is now a good time to get on the property ladder?'

Simon Meredith, 28, lives in a rented flat in south London with his girlfriend. He works full-time as a computer programmer but also earns a significant amount of his income from his work as a musician.

Simon Carr: I read the news today. Oh boy...

One happy, silly item is put in to balance 500 pieces of angst and anger

Stephen Foley: When will Citigroup pay for its sins?

US Outlook: Surely this week's fund-raising debacle is the final straw for shareholders, when it comes to their tolerance of Vikram Pandit's incompetent leadership at Citigroup?

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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
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Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
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J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
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Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
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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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Vivienne Westwood and her son Joe Corré deliver an anti-fracking letter to No 10 last week
voicesThe great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
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Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
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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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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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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'
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