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Cabinet meetings under Margaret Thatcher were “miserably disappointing” gatherings devoid of debate and filled with “unctuous self-satisfaction”, one her most senior ministers said in 1984.

David Prosser: Dudley prepares for stage two of thegreat BP clean-up

Outlook It is known in business as the "kitchen sink" strategy and for the new boss of a company with problems, it is an attractive proposition. On day one in the job, you dramatically announce you're chucking out everything that went before (including the kitchen sink) under the discredited management, in favour of new arrangements you will supervise personally. Goodbye tarnished brand, hello shiny new image.

Leak is plugged but storm has not abated for BP

The oil giant faces a difficult few years as compensation claims are settled, inquiries report and the safety regime is tightened. Sarah Arnott reports

Let us drill – or we may not have cash to pay Gulf claims

BP appeals to Congress as it considers banning firm from exploring US waters

Australian Labor Party edges closer to victory

Prime Minister Julia Gillard edged closer to retaining power in Australia yesterday when an independent lawmaker said he would support her centre-left Labor Party to form Australia's first minority government in almost seven decades.

Now Australia gets a taste of hung parliaments

Australia faces an almost unprecedented period of political uncertainty, after the tightest election in decades failed to produce a clear winner and left the two main parties courting a handful of independent and Green MPs.

Poll puzzle for immigrants as Australia votes

With both major parties talking tough on refugees, who will its settlers support in this week's election?

Use of 'toxic stew' to get rid of oil brings more trouble for BP

The Gulf of Mexico has been "carpet- bombed" with a highly toxic chemical dispersant for months on end, breaking official guidelines issued in the aftermath of April's Deepwater Horizon disaster which stated that BP should use the substance only in "extremely rare" cases, according to documents released by a US House of Representatives committee at the weekend.

US budget deficit is not sustainable, Bernanke warns

Ben Bernanke took his "something must be done" message about the US deficit to Capitol Hill once again yesterday, telling lawmakers that they risked riling financial markets if they fail to tackle the exploding costs of government health and social security programmes.

Rudd's ruling party trails opposition

Australian prime Minister Kevin Rudd has admitted he needs to work hard to retain power in elections this year after an opinion poll published yesterday showed his Labor Party trailing the Conservatives for the first time in more than four years.

Aquino set to win Philippine poll and carry on family dynasty

Benigno Aquino queued for five hours in the tropical heat to cast his vote in his home town north of Manila yesterday. But despite computer problems at some polling stations and a wave of election-day violence, the scion of the family closely associated with democracy in the Philippines was heading for victory in the presidential election.

Geithner presses package over dangerous failures

US Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner went to Capitol Hill to press Congress to pass the Wall Street reform package that will allow the government to wind up huge financial firms whose uncontrolled collapse would threaten the entire economy. Members of the House of Representatives financial services committee questioned some aspects of the proposals, including the plan to have companies with more than $10bn in assets repay costs to unwind a firm after it fails. “Most of us don’t die and then buy a life insurance policy,” said Luis Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat, saying the funds should be put in place in advance. Mr Geithner said that “would create expectations that the government would step in to protect shareholders and creditors from losses.”

Political quake shakes Japan

Ruling party set to lose 50-year grip on power as rise in unemployment expected to dominate election

Bernanke warns against meddling with Fed

Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, has warned that Congressional meddling in the affairs of the central bank could alarm the financial markets and send interest rates higher.

Obama earmarks emergency funding to fight swine flu

President Barack Obama today earmarked 1.825 billion dollars (£1.11 billion) in emergency funding to help fight the spread of swine flu.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
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Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
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You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
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Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

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Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
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