Children pester parents for payday loans after adverts blitz

More than half of ads are shown in the daytime, with cartoons and jingles common

Lady Gaga to perform live in outer space

The US pop star will sing a track at zero gravity for a music festival in 2015

The report says the working week should be cut from 40 to 30 hours

Want to be healthier, save the planet and boost the economy? Then work less - cutting working week would improve well-being and boost economy, say experts

It may be the excuse long-suffering commuters have been waiting for, as new research suggests that working fewer hours each week can be good for your health, protect the environment and even boost the economy.

Mind the financial gap – and make sure you stay insured

Hard-up families risk disaster if they drop cover on homes, cars and holidays, says Chiara Cavaglieri

McDonald’s has admitted 90 per cent of its UK employees are on zero-hours contracts.

They won't be lovin' it: McDonald's admits 90% of employees are on zero-hours contracts without guaranteed work or a stable income

Fast-food chain is potentially the largest zero-hours employer in the UK’s private sector

200,000 victims of Equitable Life collapse may miss out on compensation after Atos slips up again

Under-fire contractor and Treasury criticised by MPs for running ‘arbitrary’ scheme

Video: Woman caught on camera telling ‘hitman’ she wanted husband dead as its ‘easier than divorcing him’

Julia Charlene Merfeld also said she didn’t want to deal with breaking her husband’s heart by separating

Academics at Oxford University pay to be cryogenically preserved so they can be 'brought back to life in the future'

Some staff are having their heads frozen while others are having whole bodies undergo the procedure

Simon Read: In need of protection? Don't jump in and fall for the wrong insurance cover

Look, I know you don't want to talk about this – I'm not all that comfortable discussing it myself – but if you have financial responsibilities then you really should think about protecting your family.

Pennsylvania mother who reappeared 11 years after being declared dead was answering an outstanding arrest warrant

Brenda Heist, from Lititz, Pennsylvania, went missing in 2002 after dropping her children off at school

Investment View: Steer clear of the Pru, but if you do invest, be careful

Getting on the wrong side of your regulator is a bad idea. Particularly  in financial services

James Moore: Royal London looks set to prove a strong mutual is in the interests of all

Outlook Royal London has quietly become a force almost without anyone noticing it. The mutual life insurer has gobbled up the Co-op's life insurance and fund management business, the latest in a series of acquisitions.

Editorial: Equality is for everyone – men, too

Today is a landmark in gender equality – but of a kind that may not be entirely welcome to women. An EU ruling that forces Britain's insurance companies to stop charging men and women different prices is now law. And that means that women drivers – whose safer record behind the wheel than their male counterparts has benefited them for so long – will almost certainly see their premiums rise.

Questions of Cash: I've been having a hard time trying to cancel my Norton software payments

Q. Several years ago, I loaded a Norton Security software package onto my laptop. A charge was debited from my credit card annually. Recently, the laptop failed completely. I tried to cancel my payment but Norton's website does not recognise that I have a subscription.

Women save much less than men for old age

The gap in the amount that men and women are saving for retirement has grown to a record high of nearly £30,000 over the average lifetime, the provider Scottish Widows has revealed.

Sport
footballHe started just four months ago
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
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Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
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One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
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Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
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
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

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

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
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