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.

Wine: A lesson in le marketing

Looking through the shop window of this spring's supermarket and high-street press tastings, one of the more striking features is the extent to which France is taking on board the competition of the New World and its customer-friendly face. The dull lists of meaningless appellations and négociant names are giving way to a host of brand names à la New World. Some arrive with a French accent, like Chamarré, Première, La Terre or Blason de Bourgogne. Others like Stone Road wouldn't look out of place on an Australian or Californian shelf. And, following in the footsteps of Fat Bastard Chardonnay, there's a new tongue-in-cheek breed like Le Freak, Chat en Oeuf, and the self-deprecating Arrogant Frog, telling us that the French can lighten up if they have to.

ING sells off final Baring unit to American groups

The Dutch financial services group ING has agreed to sell Baring Asset Management to the US groups Northern Trust and MassMutual, making a net gain of €250m (£175m).

ING puts Barings asset arm on block

ING, the Dutch bank, has put its UK fund management arm, Baring Asset Management (BAM), up for sale, and is believed to be in advanced talks with a handful of bidders, which are likely to lead to an imminent sale.

ING makes pounds 6bn French bank bid

ING GROEP, the largest financial services company in the Netherlands, made a 10bn euro (pounds 6.2bn) takeover bid for Credit Commercial de France, France's sixth-largest bank. ING is offering 137.5 euros per share, a 14.7 per cent premium to CCF's closing price on Friday. CCF said its board received a letter from ING with the bid on Friday, and that it will consider the offer in a meeting on Thursday.

ING takes control of German bank

CROSS-BORDER banking consolidation in Europe took a step forward yesterday when ING, the Dutch banking and insurance giant, announced an agreed 2.3bn euro bid for the 58 per cent of Germany's BHF Bank it does not already own.

The Barings anti-hero leaves prison this week as a celluloid celebrity. Whatever happened to the supporting cast? asks Dan Gledhill

Rogue Trader, the film dramatising Nick Leeson's meteoric rise and equally sudden fall, opened in cinemas across the country on Friday to mixed reviews. There was no such critical ambivalence when the original tale of his part in the downfall of Barings bank unfolded in February 1995.
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