Despite overwhelming evidence there is still continuing reluctance from politicians to accept just how useless short prison sentences are

NatWest sets its sights on mutual life purchase

NatWest Group has set its sights on a life insurance mutual as the last big acquisition step in its expansion strategy. Fresh from Monday's purchase of Gartmore, the bank yesterday stressed its intention to bolster NatWest Life's shaky position in the long-term savings market.

Terrorists killed by their own devices


Thinking of setting up your own portfolio? Private investors, start here

Unit trusts, investment trusts, PEPs and privatisation issues have made it very easy for investors to acquire a stake in the stock market. And there are plenty of private client stockbrokers happy to build and manage a portfolio of direct holdings for the idle investor who still wants direct exposure.

It's good to get personal

YOUR MONEY The fourth in our series on pensions explains how to make the best of a private plan

Diversification strategy pays off for CU


Life sellers must lay down the scattergun

THE life assurance industry - for long the black sheep of Britain's financial services - is struggling to mend its ways. But its response to the barrage of public criticism and the tougher regulatory regime it now labours under has been disappointing.

CU's expansion pays off as profits rise 25%


A calm hand for a troubled trade


Lone sailor Lisa completes world trip of spacey


Collapse of confidence blamed for pension sales slump

Sales of pensions and life insurance products in Britain slumped last year, according to figures released yesterday by the Association of British Insurers.

Doctor Feelgood

Helena Burton talks to the man who compensates investors for hurt feelings

IRA Ceasefire: Four inmates at the centre of controversy

THOMAS QUIGLEY: Given three life sentences in 1985 for the murders of two civilians and a bomb disposal expert in London. Those who died were Nora Field, 59, and John Breslin, 18, in a bomb blast at Chelsea barracks, and Kenneth Howorth, who was trying to defuse an IRA device in Oxford Street.

IRA Ceasefire: Children's hopes reflect the sectarian divide: Catholic primary school pupils are more optimistic about the future than Protestants

ONLY ONE boy in the class of 10- and 11-year-olds thought the ceasefire would last. 'I want it to last,' he said. 'You get sick of all the killing.'

IRA Ceasefire: Tears and violence that marked 25 troubled years

The killing of Barney McGuigan and 13 other Catholics by the British Army in Londonderry's Bogside on Bloody Sunday, 30 January, 1972, set the seal on two decades of violent confrontation, bringing death to British towns such as Warrington, where an IRA bomb killed two boys, Tim Parry and Jonathan Ball, in March 1993, and a high-profile Army presence in working-class areas of Belfast, such as the Falls Road

IRA terrorist gets 25 years

Expectations of an early, open-ended but temporary IRA ceasefire remained high in Belfast and Dublin. At the Old Bailey Sean McNulty, 26, an English-born construction worker, was jailed for 25 years for taking part in an IRA plot to bomb oil and gas depots on Tyneside. In London part of the West End was sealed off after a bomb warning from a telephone caller using a recognised codeword. Pages 2, 6
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