News The eye of the storm: Speakes in the White House in 1982

An assassination attempt plunged Larry Speakes into the brightest of national spotlights as chief spokesman for President Ronald Reagan. When Reagan’s press secretary James Brady was severely wounded in the 1981 attempt on the president’s life, Speakes was thrust into the eye of the storm. As White House spokesman for six years, a long tenure in the sensitive post, he was credited with 2,000 news media briefings.

Market update - 5 December

The FTSE 100 was down 32.67 points at 4130.94 and the FTSE 250 eased to 5792.89, down 8.93 points, at noon.

Hicks has no intention of selling Liverpool

Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks remains insistent he has no intention of selling the club despite their plans to build a new stadium being thwarted.

Thain to stay with Bank of Amercia

John Thain, the chief executive of Merrill Lynch who has been credited by some with organising the sale of the investment bank to Bank of America and avoiding the ignominy of collapse, will stay with the enlarged group when the takeover deal goes through.

Alliance Trust hopes 'Katherine the Great' will lead them out of doldrums

Katherine Garrett-Cox, one of the most celebrated women in the asset management industry, has been handed the reins at Alliance Trust, the UK's biggest generalist investment trust.

David Prosser's Outlook: Tax doesn't have to be all take, take, take

Business groups such as the CBI have given the Treasury a tough time this year over the taxation of multinational companies. Richard Lambert, the organisation's director-general, has repeatedly warned that more companies will choose to move their tax base elsewhere if the Government presses ahead with reforms of the way in which overseas profits are taxed. Let's hope then, that Mr Lambert will be equally quick to congratulate the Exchequer for the munificent rules that look likely to enable the investment bank Merrill Lynch to avoid paying any UK tax for many decades to come.

Jeremy Warner's Outlook: Merrill's Thain hopes to draw line in the sand

The banking crisis began as a problem with liquidity, but now it's been transformed into one of capital adequacy to judge by the kitchen sinking announced on Monday night by John Thain, chief executive of Merrill Lynch. Is this the third, or fourth, such exercise in writedowns to be announced by the thundering herd? It's easy to lose count.

Merrill Lynch writes down extra $9.4bn

Merrill Lynch wrote off another $9.4bn from the value of its holdings in US mortgages and derivatives last night, taking its total writedowns since the credit crisis began to more than $40bn.

Merrill Lynch pensioners miss out on inflation rise

Merrill Lynch, the US investment bank, has scrapped a cost-of-living increase for its UK pensioners to cut expenses after taking $37bn (£18.5bn) of write-downs from the credit crunch. The bank, which reports second-quarter results today, has written to its British pensioners telling them they would not receive the discretionary payment, which has been made for several years. “Merrill Lynch will base its 2009 decision on all the circumstances existing at that time and make a decision that is in the best interest of the company,” the bank said in its letter.

Prolific dealmaker Silver joins Merrill Lynch

One of the City's most prolific dealmakers, Caroline Silver, has quit her role as vice chair of investment banking at Morgan Stanley to join rival American house, Merrill Lynch.

Merrill Lynch to cut 4,000 jobs after big loss

Merrill Lynch today said it planned to cut 4,000 jobs after posting a quarterly loss of $2bn (£1bn).

Government seeks to send in pension protectors

As more funds are sold to private buyers, new powers are proposed for the regulator in appointing trustees

Marvel's studio will bring more heroes to screen

We've seen the X-Men. We've seen the Fantastic Four. We've seen, most lucratively, three (soon to be four) instalments of the Spider-Man saga.

Citigroup and Merrill Lynch raise $21bn to cover mortgage losses

Two of Wall Street's biggest banks have raised $21bn (£10.7bn) in a single day, a vital step towards repairing their battered balance sheets and shoring up investor confidence in the face of mounting losses on the US mortgage market.

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home