The World Economic Forum begins in Davos

World's 85 richest people have as much as poorest 3.5 billion: Oxfam warns Davos of ‘pernicious impact’ of the widening wealth gap

The 85 richest people on the planet have accumulated as much wealth between them as half of the world’s population, political and financial leaders have been warned ahead of their annual gathering in the Swiss resort of Davos.

The Whitaker's Quiz of the Year: Round 9 - Winners and losers

1. Who was controversially given a free meal by Selfridges after an employee refused to serve him?

An African tycoon who could bring back Bob Diamond's sparkle

Bob Diamond, the disgraced former chief executive of Barclays, may have been the name who drew London investors to his new company aiming to buy banks in Africa, but it is his 32-year-old Ugandan business partner, Ashish Thakkar, who will be providing the all-important contacts.

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

All Between the Covers wants for Christmas (apart from a canvas book bag for a stocking) is a whole bunch of stuff signed by the brilliant author David Nicholls. Fortunately he has donated some books and film scripts to The Independent’s charity auction, and they can be found on our website. Bidding ends at 11am on 12 December. Nicholls’s lot comprises three books – one of them a boxed hardback of One Day – and three film scripts, including Great Expectations. Covers is keeping the lot under lock and key, only occasionally taking them out to covet them. We can reveal, therefore, that the script for Great Expectations contains the direction: “Ext. Marshes, Kent – dusk”. And ... action!

Bitcoin is an experimental digital currency that has gained popularity worldwide

Bitcoin: 'Assassination Market' website raising the online virtual currency to hire assassins that target key US figures revealed

Those allegedly targeted on the site include Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, President Obama and NSA director Keith Alexander

The streets around London’s Wembley Stadium are being considered as the location for the UK’s first electric single-seater car race, according to organisers

Wembley set to get green flag to host Formula E electric car race

It is more accustomed to playing host to legions of worse-for-wear football fans. But the streets around London’s Wembley Stadium are being considered as the location for the UK’s first electric single-seater car race, according to organisers.

Born This Way? Lady Gaga in London on 30 August 2013

Money Honey: Lady Gaga's personal assistant takes her to court over 7,000 hours of unpaid overtime claim

The singer's former PA claims she was not paid for overtime work and was not allowed any personal time off

JPMorgan ordered to pay $50m damages to Russian billionaire Leonard Blavatnik

Wall Street investment bank JPMorgan has been told to pay more than $50 million (£32 million) in damages to Russian billionaire Leonard Blavatnik.

Telefonica ups German bid as Slim gets onside

Telefonica, the Spanish mobile giant that owns O2, yesterday raised its bid for Germany’s E-Plus and won the backing of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, who could have blocked the deal.

The Silk Road has been described as the 'eBay of illegal drugs'

Silk Road website's secretive owners says drugs market ‘worth 10 or 11 figures’

The secretive owner of notorious online black market The Silk Road has boasted that his website is now so lucrative that he wouldn’t sell it for “less than 10 figures, maybe 11”.

EL James claimed the top spot in Forbes’ list of the highest-earning writers

Fifty Shades of Grey author EL James named top-earning writer for 2012

The Brit succeeded crime writer James Patterson to top the list

Simon Cowell has been placed joint first with Howard Stern on Forbes' top ten highest-paid TV personalities

Simon Cowell and Howard Stern top Forbes' list of highest-paid TV personalities

Simon Cowell has come joint first place on Forbes' list of the highest-paid "personalities" on American television.

Angelina Jolie makes a speech before a screening of the movie 'In the Land of Blood and Honey' which she directed, at United Nations University in Tokyo on 29 July. She has been named the highest-paid actress in Hollywood by Forbes.

Très Jolie: Angelina named the highest-paid actress by Forbes despite not appearing in a movie for three years

She might not have been seen in a film for three years, but Angelina Jolie is Hollywood's highest-paid actress with estimated earnings of $33 million in the last year, according to Forbes.

The cover of Lady Gaga's new single 'Applause'

Lady Gaga reveals artwork for new ARTPOP single 'Applause'

Lady Gaga has released the artwork for her forthcoming single ‘Applause’ in which she appears with paint smeared down her face.

Irish President Michael D Higgins with his wife Sabina

Forbes magazine issues apology after wrongly outing Irish leader Michael D Higgins as gay

Journalist admits  ‘terrible’ mistake after claiming President Higgins was homosexual

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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