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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

New blows shake hopes for UK economic recovery as IMF delivers warning to George Osborne

Slumping High Street sales and halting progress in cutting the deficit dampened hopes of green shoots for the British economy today.

George Osborne is seeking public support for ditching the state's bank holdings

RBS and Lloyds stakes should be sold, says IMF

Britain will be advised to sell off the state's holdings in the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Bank by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a move that will embolden George Osborne as he attempts to justify his economic strategy.

George Osborne: 'Confidence is returning to financial markets'

George Osborne: Changing course on economy will take Britain 'back to square one'

Chancellor tells CBI's annual dinner that his economic plan is 'taking longer than anyone hoped,' but insisted real progress is being made

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Mud wrestling is only entertaining now and again

Oh, how they laughed. Explaining George Osborne’s absence from Treasury Questions, Chief Secretary Danny Alexander was on side-splitting form. “My right honourable friend the Chancellor is in Brussels today at the Ecofin council,” he told MPs, “exercising the considerable influence that Britain enjoys as a full member of the European Union.” Boom, boom!

Honda in Swindon is shedding jobs

We need to get going on jobs and growth

The Shadow Chancellor bemoans a Queen's Speech that offers the country so little

George Osborne (centre) with global financial policymakers at the G7 meeting in Aylesbury

George Osborne cautiously toasts 'improved outlook' for global economy after G7 meeting

The Chancellor also pledged UK action on tax evasion and avoidance

Sir Alex Ferguson has conquered football. Next, the world of finance?

To have had such longevity and success requires a remarkable range of skills

Britain’s recovery, led by Chancellor George Osborne, is slower than 23 of the 33 advanced economies monitored by the IMF

George Osborne braced for IMF challenge over austerity plans

Critical verdict could leave Chancellor isolated as the global consensus appears to turn against austerity

Prime Minister David Cameron shakes hands with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud

British military team will be sent to Somalia to train troops and help combat human rights abuses

UK will also contribute to a £50 million international fund for the state

Niall Ferguson has apologised for suggesting J.M. Keynes didn't care about future generations because he was gay

TV historian and Harvard professor Niall Ferguson apologises for 'stupid' comments about John Maynard Keynes' homosexuality

Historian apologises for latest smear, but 1998 book expressed similar sentiments

NIESR calls for more spending as growth stays flat

The economy will grow by 0.9 per cent in 2013, rising to 1.5 per cent in 2014, according to the latest forecasts from the National Institute for Economic and Social Research. The forecast for this year is a slight improvement on the 0.7 per cent growth NIESR expected in February, but the think-tank stresses that the reality is that the UK still has a "stagnating economy". It expects unemployment to remain roughly flat for two years at 8 per cent.

Members of pro-communist union PAME raise their fists during a protest in Athens

Thousands protest against Greek government's austerity measures

Greece has instituted a series of painful tax hikes, wage cuts and financial reforms in an effort to put its house in order

In 2011, George Osborne anointed Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister, as the “outstanding candidate” to become managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

The IMF's check-up will give George Osborne another headache

Miliband may need five symbolic cuts to convince that he means business on the deficit

James Moore: George Osborne dodges this bullet but trouble looms on the southern horizon

Outlook The sighs of relief from the Treasury could be heard echoing throughout Westminster, Whitehall, and beyond. No triple dip! GDP is growing again! The slight problem with this is that it's a bit like counting your winnings before your horse has cleared the final fence. Yesterday's provisional numbers, even if they were better than expectations, are still subject to revision because all the data is not yet in.

People waiting in line at a government employment office in the center of Madrid

Spain’s jobless rate soars to a record high of 27.16 per cent

In nearly two million homes, every adult is out of work – with no end of recession in sight

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Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...