News US President Barack Obama pauses while making a statement about the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela in the briefing room of the White House

US politicians are closing in on a deal to ease the impact of spending cuts worth up to $200 billion (£122 billion) which are due to hit home next year, it emerged today.

Mortgage deals are likely to get cheaper

People planning to remortgage or fund a house purchase may find that the deals on offer get cheaper over the coming weeks and months, mortgage industry insiders have said.

Borrowing £5bn less than expected

The Government modestly undershot its expectations for public borrowing in the last financial year by nearly £5 billion, official figures revealed today.

Money Insider: Improved mortgage deals as swap rates recede

during the first six weeks of 2011 there was a growing belief that the Bank of England Base Rate would increase sooner than initially anticipated, something that was reflected in the increased swap rates. This resulted in many lenders re-pricing fixed rate mortgages and left borrowers feeling that they had missed the bottom of the market.

Growth forecasts revised down

The UK's recovery prospects were dealt a blow today after Chancellor George Osborne revealed a cut to growth forecasts and said the public finances were likely to be more stretched than previously expected.

Bond Buy: Jameel family pay 21m for Piaget store

A Saudi Arabian family, estimated to be worth $3bn, has bought the Piaget store on Old Bond Street in yet another record deal on London's exclusive shopping street.

Rate rise could be shocking for borrowers

Fixing could protect against mortgage rates climbing next year. Simon Read reports

Questions Of Cash: 'My funds were sent to the wrong account'

Q. ING Direct closed my account at my request, but transferred the funds – almost £90,000 – to the wrong account. It admits this, and that it was their error, but says it cannot reimburse me until it locates the missing funds. It has even suggested that I should track down the funds myself – and that this would be quicker. GF, London.

Yamauchi targets Great North glory

It just so happens that Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly have been asked to fire the starting gun to get the 30th edition of the Bupa Great North Run underway in Newcastle tomorrow morning.

Storm clouds gather over Britain's high street

Storm clouds gathered on Britain's high street today after a shock fall in retail sales and a slew of pessimistic comments from major players.

Bank chiefs discussed rate increase

Bank of England policymakers considered further action to boost the economy this month amid concerns over tightening credit conditions and a slowdown in the UK recovery, it emerged today.

Lenders fail to notify savers of rate changes

Most banks fail to tell savers about changes to the interest they are earning on their cash, it was claimed yesterday.

Hamish McRae: Things are at a crucial stage for Europe but what if China turns off the tap to the US?

Economic Life: Austerity moves may persuade the markets most weaker eurozone countries are good for their money. Equally, they might decide the US is not a safe haven

Borrowing soars but tax receipts up

Britain's borrowing ballooned by another £12.4 billion last month, but tax receipts rose year on year as the economic recovery gathered pace, official figures revealed today.

Pound hit over hung parliament fears

The pound was punished today amid worries that plans to slash the UK's soaring deficit could be delayed by political uncertainty.

The Sketch: Infamy, infamy, they've all got it in for me!

"For ****'s sake, ****ing VICTIMS, don't you ****ing under****ingstand what the House of ****-Commons is? Ach, you don't know ANYTHING YOU ****S!"

Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
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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
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

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People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

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Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas