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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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
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick