News Social Democrats count votes in Berlin yesterday

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling conservatives were on course to form a grand coalition government.

Andrew Grice: Cleaning up political funding will help remove the smell of scandal

The cloud has hung over British politics for years. How our parties are funded has added to the bad smell that has turned off many voters. They suspect that donors expect – and get – something in return for their money. The MPs' expenses scandal added to the stench. Money and politics are a dangerous cocktail, as Liam Fox discovered. The funding of his self-styled adviser Adam Werritty by businessmen contributed to his downfall as Defence Secretary. Although the official inquiry found that Mr Werritty was not a lobbyist, the affair shone a light on the murky world of lobbying.

The shady world of lobbying

The funding of political parties is only one aspect of the way money can corrupt the political system.

Leading article: The overwhelming case for state party funding

The funding of politics is something that no multi-party democracy, however established or efficient, has managed to solve to everyone's satisfaction.

Money – the bad smell that lingers on in politics

This attempt to clean up party funding may go the way of all the rest, says Andrew Grice

Golden start for Great Britain

Great Britain claimed three gold medals on the opening day of the European Track Championships in Apeldoorn in the Netherlands yesterday.

Clashes as Euro leaders take to the field

Germany: Angela Merkel pledges to give German MPs first sight of eurozone rescue plan as officials gather in Brussels for pivotal summit

Italy vs France: Silvio Berlusconi frustrates French push on ECB and the bailout fund

Italy and Spain – not France and Germany – are the new obstacles to a "big bazooka" solution to the eurozone debt crisis, French sources insisted yesterday.

EU crises talks critical, says George Osborne

A round of weekend negotiations in Brussels will be "critical" in selling the eurozone crisis, Chancellor George Osborne said today.

Shares soar on eurozone deal hopes

Shares in London soared higher on hopes that politicians could hammer out a deal to ease the eurozone debt crisis by next week.

Satellite expected to hit Earth

German scientists say they expect pieces of a defunct satellite hurtling toward the atmosphere to hit Earth this weekend.

'If they'd had Twitter, then the Paris Commune may have won'

Genevieve Girling, director of The Days of the Commune at the White Bear Theatre, discusses riots, revolutions, and the relevance of Brecht in the Twitter age.

Markets push higher despite fears

Fresh fears that politicians are struggling to get to grips with the eurozone debt crisis failed to dampen the mood of investors today.

Franco-German row blocks debt crisis agreement

Eurozone leaders conceded last night there are still huge divisions on how to solve the bloc's debt crisis with no chance of agreement by the end of Sunday's summit, which was originally slated as a make-or-break meeting.

Hamish McRae: The world has too many savers and not enough borrowers

Economic Life: As far as Europe is concerned one of the huge problems is that the common currency has led to economic divergence

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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