News Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers his special address at the opening session of the World Economic Forum in Davos

Japan’s trade deficit has hit an all-time high as imports were swollen by higher energy prices and a weak yen.

Money alert: Zapp mobile payments service

A new mobile payments service – in effect an electronic wallet – has been backed by five of our major financial institutions. Zapp will launch this autumn with the backing of HSBC, First Direct, Nationwide, Santander and Metro Bank.

Freer trade is worth having, but giving big business more power is too high a price for it

Free trade requires rules. When modern nations exchange goods and services for mutual benefit they generally also seek to establish some commonly agreed rules of commerce.

UK trade deficit narrows to £9.4bn in November

Export volumes to the EU rose 5.8 per cent on the month

Britain’s deficit soars to its highest for 24 years

But stronger-than-expected growth was seen over the past two years

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's nationalist views are likely to antagonise victims of Japan's wartime aggression

Japan disappoints as Q3 growth is revised down

Japan’s private sector is losing faith in prime minister Shinzo Abe’s “shock and awe” tactics to revive the world’s third biggest economy after worrying figures today showed business investment flat-lining in the latest quarter

Autumn Statement 2013: Export finance capacity for UK businesses doubled to £50 billion

The Chancellor has announced a doubling of export finance capacity for UK businesses to £50 billion, as part of his Autumn Statement.

Vodafone appoints ex-Bupa boss Val Gooding as a non-exec director

Vodafone has recruited ex-Bupa healthcare chief executive officer Val Gooding to be a non-executive director, making her the third woman on the 13-member board.

Chinese Yuan surpasses Euro as second most used currency in global finance

China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany and Australia among top five countries using the yuan to finance trade

UK pensions among worst in the developed world, OECD warns

UK workers can expect a pension worth just 32.6 per cent of final pay when they retire, compared to a 54.4 per cent average across the OECD

CBI survey reveals strongest growth in UK manufacturing output in 18 years

Survey reveals total order books and output growth highest since 1995.

Exports are falling short of David Cameron’s target of achieving £1trn a year by end of decade

Britain is falling far short of David Cameron’s target of achieving exports worth £1trn a year by the end of the decade, the Prime Minister will be warned today, as he prepares to give a major speech urging British firms to strive harder to sell overseas.

Silk Road 2.0: new owner aims to 'double the achievements' of the first site

Anonymous services such as Tor and Bitcoin are being used once more to hide the identity of the site's customers, with 'extra security' promised

Online retail: Moonpig in tax setback

The closure of a tax loophole has hit profits at online birthday and Christmas cards retailer Moonpig.

Business Secretary Vince Cable has been accused of providing contradictory evidence to MPs

Vince Cable gave 'contradictory evidence' about export of chemicals to Syria, MPs say

Government denies 'cover up' of nerve gas exports to war-torn country

Good news for George Osborne as OECD predicts 1.5% growth this year, up from May forecast of 0.8%

Forecasts for UK economy upgraded in latest sign recovery picking up momentum

OECD predicts 1.5% growth this year, up from May forecast of 0.8%

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?