Strong demand for Costa coffee and a solid performance by budget Premier Inns saw a sharp rise in third-quarter sales at Whitbread, leaving it confident it will meet targets for the year

Vitamin makers admit price-fixing conspiracy

SIX BIG vitamin manufacturers agreed to pay $1.1bn (pounds 688m) in a price-fixing lawsuit that could benefit British consumers.

A worm that turns

Drinkers in Scottish bars don't offer cash for review copies - except when Irvine Welsh is on the cover. Brian Morton kept the book, and hails a masterpiece

Try me: 'Portmore' hat by Stephen Jones, pounds 290

I've been wearing the same hat to weddings since 1988. I'm not a huge fan of weddings. I've always thought that it would be a lot simpler to just post a large cheque to the florist and have done with it. It may be this churlish attitude that leads to my being asked to so few of the things and the hat in question lasting so well. Between nuptials and the odd trip to Henley, it sits on one of the many busts of Napoleon that adorn the bedroom but this time, when I got it down, it fell apart in my hands.

Marketing vodka: the pure thrill

Susan Murray is charged with making Smirnoff vodka a truly internationa l taste. Roger Trapp reports on her cool style

Can Barbie turn into Maggie?

Donna Karan must have taken one look at her client and booked some extra time on her meditation rock. She was bottle blonde, a bit plasticky around the edges and positively teetering on shoes that made her feet look bent.

We asked for your opinions on the author of `Trainspotting'

Irvine Welsh: readers reply

ABF shakes off Cinderella image

The Investment Column

You think snowstorm paperweights are kitsch? Try one ringed in baby-pink marabou

Stuck for a present to buy for that apocryphal person who has everything? Just the thing, and hipper than the Mike Flowers Pops cover song of Oasis's "Wonderwall", is the naffest of naff mantlepiece icons - the snowstorm paperweight.

MEDIA: stateside

Quentin Tarantino movie-maker, Quentin Tarantino union-buster. Yes, the king of deadpan gore has angered the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) by shooting his new movie with a non- union crew. Tarantino is a fierce opponent of unions and refuses to join the Writers' Guild of America, a decision that made his Pulp Fiction script ineligible for guild awards. Tarantino is now working on From Dusk to Dawn, with an $18m budget. He and his producer, Lawrence Bender, figured a union crew would boost their costs by more than $500,000. The IATSE is trying to organise the non-union crew, but Tarantino refuses to release a list of workers, describing the IATSE request for names as "an invasion of privacy". IATSE's West Coast chief, Harry Floyd, would be well-advised to stay away from car rides with John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson.

MARKET REPORT: Turmoil in the drugs industry gives investors a lift

Drugs gave the stock market a lift. As the protracted talks between Fisons and Medeva broke down, Smith & Nephew and Zeneca enjoyed renewed support.

Raving with an MBA

Andy Beckett meets Irvine Welsh, bad-boy writer with a secretly respectable past


In America, the cult of the drag queen has never been bigger - and drag queens don't come any bigger than RuPaul, the downtown boy who just played Las Vegas
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

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Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

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Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
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The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
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Beating obesity

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Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
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Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
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In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific