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.

The Asian Tiger Mosquito could survive year-round in southern England as aresult of milder winters

Asian mosquito 'could bring tropical diseases to Britain'

Continent's changing climate raises fears that dengue fever could come to South of England

Falling non-EU exports widen trade gap

David Cameron's hopes of promoting an export-led recovery were left deflated yesterday by official figures showing that the UK's trade deficit increased by more than expected in February.

Angela Merkel: Greek Euro exit would be 'catastrophic'

The departure of Greece from the eurozone would be a "huge political mistake", according to German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Richest nations 'pulling out of economic slide'

Developed nations are pulling out of the economic slide seen at the end of 2011, according to new data based on hundreds of millions of financial transactions.

Being Modern: Mother's Day gifts

Did you remember? Of course you did – the flowers, the chocolate and, why not, the mouse mat with the least-worst snapshot of the grandchildren printed on it. Because Mother's Day is nothing if not an opportunity to make a few ill-judged purchases in the name of family harmony. As for your mum, she's just glad you've all turned up, for once – even if she's still got to do the cooking (and ignore your lot trampling over the bulbs in the garden).

Osborne gets pre-Budget boost from rising trade

George Osborne received a pre-Budget boost yesterday as trade figures came out much rosier than expected. Thanks to a good showing from car makers such as Rolls-Royce and Jaguar selling more to the US, Russia and China, Britain had record exports to regions outside the EU. That will be seen as good news for the Chancellor's hopes of a "march of the makers" to rebalance the economy away from financial services. As domestic consumer demand falls, Britain is ever more dependent on exports for growth, particularly outside the crisis-bound eurozone.

A hard, dry future for the planet

As global bodies gather in Marseilles to discuss water supplies, Sarah Morrison reports on the waste that will create a thirsty world by 2050

Trainer Alan King with Grumeti (left) and Balder Success

Vendor offers value in Festival markets

At the best of times, it can be hard enough to find the lane that climbs up to the stables at Barbury Castle. On a morning when the old hangars and airfield fences loom and recede in the fog, it feels as though Nature herself is conspiring in the sequestration of one of the strongest Cheltenham teams in the land. Those who eventually obtain his lair, however, find Alan King providing all the illumination necessary.

'Arms to Iran' grandfather to be extradited

A grandfather from Kent who is accused of selling parts for Iranian missiles will be extradited to the US within 10 days, his lawyer said yesterday.

Spotlight On: Halifax clarity credit card

The deal

Sets fail pupils, study finds

Moves to reintroduce more setting and streaming in UK  state schools are fuelling a “vicious cycle” of underperformance,  particularly amongst disadvantaged youngsters, a top-level international study warned yesterday.

OECD warns over UK education record

Almost one in five young people in the UK are not educated to A-level standard, leaving the nation lagging behind countries such as Slovenia and Estonia.

Tighter sanctions see Iran default on India rice payments

Iranian buyers have defaulted on payments for about 200,000 tonnes of rice from India in a sign of the mounting pressure on Tehran from a new wave of Western sanctions.

Money Insider: Chelsea ramps up mortgage battle for supremacy

Over the last few years, building societies have been a dominant force in the mortgage market, particularly with fixed-rate products. Even though mutuals already have a big presence in the bestbuy tables, the battle for mortgage supremacy stepped up another gear this week when Yorkshire Building Society, through its Chelsea brand, hit the market with a five-year fix at a record low rate of just 3.19 per cent, maximum 70 per cent loan-to-value (LTV) ratio.

Santander’s move may be followed by other banks

Santander increase will mean rise in cost of banking

Millions will be charged twice as much for going into the red.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
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Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

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Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

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Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

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