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On a per capita basis, the nation has all the ingredients to be one of the world's most prosperous nations

George Osborne during a visit to AW Hainsworth and Sons textile manufacturer in October.

UK GDP: British economy growing at fastest rate since 2007

Official figures show UK economy grew 0.7% in the fourth quarter bringing the annual growth rate to 1.9%

Behind good news headlines on recovery and jobs we are no better off than at the start of this slump

Recession will have lasted three years longer than any other in the past 100 years

Former rate-setter Adam Posen warns of danger of Help to Buy property bubble

Bank needs to dampen impact of Chancellor’s scheme ,

Comment: Osborne glee- but questions remain

The IMF's upgrade for the UK economy will be greeted with glee in 11 Downing Street.

IMF raises UK growth forecast to 2.4%

Mark Carney free to keep rates low as IMF warns against withdrawing stimulus too soon

Credit clampdown puts the brakes on Chinese economy

China’s economy last year registered flat growth of 7.7 per cent, maintaining its slowest expansion in more than a decade

The IMF estimated in October the GPD growth would be 1.9 per cent for 2014, however it is expected to change that estimate to 2.4 per cent; These numbers would be seen by the Chancellor as a vindication

Relief for Osborne as IMF expects UK growth to hit highest rate in three years

The International Monetary Fund is expected to raise its estimate of growth in the UK economy tomorrow, in figures that will be seized upon by George Osborne, the Chancellor.

Carnage: A Kabul policeman surveys the damage

Foreigners targeted in Afghanistan blast as Labour MEP candidate Del Singh one of two Britons killed in Kabul attack which killed 21

Two Britons and four UN members were among the 21 people killed in the restaurant attack

Foreign Office confirms Briton among more than a dozen people killed in Afghanistan suicide bomb attack

A Briton was among more than a dozen people killed in a suicide attack on a restaurant in Kabul, the Foreign Office has confirmed.

Far-right party Golden Dawn is expected to perform well in municipal and European Parliament elections

Just what Greece didn’t need: BNP leader Nick Griffin seeks Golden Dawn alliance

Athens plays centre stage to a worrying political development

A woman pays for her shopping in euros at a supermarket in Rujiena, near the border with Estonia. On 1 January Latvia became the 18th country to adopt the Euro

Latvia: The country that fell for the euro

The single currency is supposedly doomed, weighed down by the parlous state of the Greek economy and infighting between member states. So why on Earth would a Baltic state with a strong economy want to board this stricken ship?

Warning of ‘serious flaws’ in economy as debt rises again

Think-tank says recovery based on borrowing risks being unsustainable

This Lebanese woman was among those injured in the explosion which claimed the life of Mohamad Chatah in Beirut

Mohamad Chatah - Lebanon's man of dialogue - is murdered in Beirut

Mohamad Chatah died in a car bomb that killed five others

Enda Kenny thanks Ireland as country exits its bailout programme

Ireland set to return to the money markets as the first euro zone nation to have completed a strict bailout programme

Head turning: Mary Barra, the world’s first woman to lead a major car company

At last, the face of power is female

First, General Motors, next, the Federal Reserve. The glass ceiling in the US is not broken, but some big cracks are beginning to appear

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform