Election '97 : One nation once more?

Four weeks into the election campaign John Major and Tony Blair will today finally turn the political focus on to divided Britain with an appeal to voters who want a return to the united, One Nation values repudiated during the Thatcher years.

Comment: Behind the sterling and dollar upstarts

What a delicious irony that it is the prospect of the pound staying out of another European currency arrangement that has finally helped it regain the level it last saw when it was catapulted out of Europe the last time. And how like the topsy-turvy world of the foreign exchange markets to be driving higher the two currencies - the dollar and sterling - which are most in danger of a revival of the inflation which has, in the long term, led to their steady depreciation against the classic strong currencies of this world.

Life's a drag for pleasure-loving Japanese PM

Japan's Prime Minister, Ryutaro Hashimoto, is a man renowned for his love of physical pleasure. As a mountaineer, he has scaled Japan's highest and most challenging peaks. He is a black belt in kendo, the vigorous martial art of fencing with wooden staves. A few years ago, a tabloid magazine ran an interview with one of his former mistresses, who praised him for his skill and sensitivity as a lover.

UK meets Rio targets on emissions

Britain is set to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by up to 8 per cent between 1990 and 2000, thereby keeping its promises made at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, John Gummer, the Secretary of State for the Environment, reported yesterday. Industrialised nations committed themselves at Rio to stabilising annual emissions of carbon dioxide - the most important climate-changing pollutant - at the 1990 level by 2000. The gas is produced mainly by burning fossil fuels.

Services make countries rich, says Bank

The world's most successful economies are those where services make the biggest contribution to growth. Poorer economies are those where growth depends substantially on manufacturing, according to a paper to be published in the Bank of England's Quarterly Bulletin on Wednesday.

Group of Seven

The thorniest issue on the agenda of finance ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) industrial countries when they meet in Berlin tomorrow will be how big - or small - a group they should become after the start of the single European currency. If Britain stays outside Europe's economic and monetary union, it could be pushed to the margins of the international meetings in future.

Letter: Food safety body needs powers

Sir: David Gordon (letter, 31 January) replies to my letter of 27 January and points out that farming systems still exist which allow animals a reasonable life and appropriate food, and which also minimise environmental damage.

British come bottom in the numbers game

Britain came bottom in an international numeracy study of adults in seven industrialised countries, heightening concern over flagging basic skills.

OECD praises UK economic policies

The Government's economic policies have delivered the best growth and inflation prospects for 30 years, according to a glowing end-of-year report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Billion unemployed add to global feel-bad factor

The much-talked about British "feel-bad factor" is a global phenomenon, with workers throughout the world experiencing deteriorating employment conditions, according to a report released today by the International Labour Office, an arm of the United Nations.

Plan to cut debt of poorest countries suffers setback

Plans to start reducing the debt burden on the world's poorest countries, agreed in Washington only six weeks ago, face a severe setback.

Letter: Poor maths results add up

Sir: So, the International Maths and Science Study shows English teenagers perform poorly in mathematics (report, 16 November). Before everyone jumps to the conclusion that it is teaching methods - and, by implication, teachers - that are to blame, might I suggest a long, hard look at the content of the national curriculum for mathematics?

G10 woos emerging countries

Central bankers from the leading industrial countries will meet regularly with their counterparts in emerging countries to increase co- operation and establish standards for banking supervision world-wide.

IMF rethinks its future

Like most annual meetings, the IMF's gathering in Washington presents delegates with an agenda that is supposed to be pretty much sealed up well before they get their chance to vote on it. The achievements of this year's meeting, such as the initiative to reduce the debt burden on small countries, have been crafted by officials during the past six months. The real issue for discussion during the active round of cocktail parties is the shape the IMF and other international institutions will need to take as the global balance of economic power shifts.

Ministers reject university tuition fees plan

Ministers have ruled out proposals from university vice-chancellors that would require students to repay tuition fees.
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Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?