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.

City jobs gloom as Merrill cuts costs by pounds 150 million

MERRILL LYNCH cancelled its Christmas party and warned of bonus cuts yesterday as part of a drive to save pounds 150m a year because of the market turmoil that has slashed the earnings of City investment banks.

Trinity slumps

SHARES IN Trinity fell to a year's low after the regional newspaper group warned that second-half advertising growth had slowed.

Top City analysts poached by US bankers

SALOMON SMITH BARNEY, the United States' investment bank, has poached a team of top City banking analysts from one of its rivals, Dresdner Kleinwort Benson (DKB).

Market Report: Rouble trouble turns the screens red

EQUITIES WERE on the slippery slope again. After two days of progress the roller-coaster stock market was hit by the latest misfortunes of the Russian rouble.

Pearson sells Flextech TV stake

PEARSON, the media group whose interests range from Madame Tussaud's to the Financial Times, yesterday sold its remaining stake in the pay- television company Flextech for pounds 27.6m. Flextech shares closed up 13.5p at 577.5p after the announcement: Pearson gained 25p to 1,055p.

Outlook: Managers may be best judges

ANOTHER DAY, another batch of gloomy economic surveys. Yesterday, it was the turn of UK fund managers and the retailers to turn into Jeremiahs over the state of the UK economy.

Merrill Lynch buys Canadian broker

MERRILL LYNCH, the US investment bank, yesterday bought Midland Walwyn, Canada's last major independent brokerage, for about 1.26bn Canadian dollars ($855m) in stock.

Investment Column: Mixed fortunes in electronics

COMPARED TO Premier Farnell, Electrocomponents has had a quiet year. While the rival electronic parts distributor issued several profit warnings and waved good-bye to its chief executive, Electrocomponents has quietly gone about its business. The two companies' contrasting fortunes has been reflected in their relative share prices: Premier Farnell shares have lost a fifth of their value in the past year while Electrocomponents rose by 42 per cent.

UK fund managers switch to bonds

FEARS OF global economic slowdown have prompted heavy buying of bonds by UK fund managers, according to a survey published yesterday.

The Investment Column: Greenalls full of good ideas

GREENALLS was slow to catch on to the huge investment put into the branded pub market by its competitors. But it is finally doing the right thing and trying to catch up, and underlying operating profits rose 8 per cent to pounds 89.7m in the six months to March.

SFA expels ex-Merrill analyst from register

A FORMER analyst with Merrill Lynch, who used inside information to help his housemates avoid a pounds 175 loss on a share deal, has been expelled from the register of the Securities and Futures Authority (SFA), the stockbrokers' watchdog.

Fund managers see single currency eclipsing sterling

UK FUND managers believe interest rates have peaked and the economy is slowing, and anticipate a further weakening of sterling, according to a survey published yesterday.

Deal set to send European shares soaring

EUROPEAN banking shares are expected to soar today as shock waves from two of the biggest financial deals the world has ever seen reverberate around the world's stock markets.

GUS set to raise offer to clinch Argos deal

GREAT Universal Stores, the mail-order group, is this week expected to add up to 80p a share to its offer for Argos in an attempt to clinch its hostile bid for the catalogue retailer.

US bidders for Energy clash over $2.8bn Texas share plan

A FRESH WAR of words broke out last night between the rival US bidders for Energy Group after one of them, Texas Utilities, was forced to disclose that it may issue shares worth up to $2.8bn to help finance its offer for the company.
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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
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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