News

At least five people have been killed in an explosion at a chemical factory in central Japan, according to news reports.

US dollar dips as Lawrence Summers quits Federal Reserve race

The US dollar slid while bonds and shares rallied on Monday after the withdrawal of Lawrence Summers from the race to head the Federal Reserve suggested a more gradual approach to tightening monetary policy.

A photo issued by police Scotland of some tablets that are being sold as ecstasy that contain dangerous chemicals following a seventh death related to drug-taking

Drug amnesty bins at T in the Park over deaths linked to 'Rolex' ecstasy pills

Teenager Demi Campbell becomes the seventeenth UK victim of PMA tablets

Fake ecstasy pill kills teenager in West Dunbartonshire

A teenager has died after taking fake ecstasy tablets – the seventh reported death linked to the pills.

Stephen Donald

All Black hero Stephen Donald pulls plug on Bath to head to Japan

Stephen Donald, the outside-half from New Zealand who kicked the All Blacks to a first world title in almost a quarter of a century before flying halfway round the planet for a lucrative stint in Premiership rugby with Bath, has had enough of life in these parts. He is about to leave the Recreation Ground with a season still left on his very expensive contract and take up employment in Japan, where the weekly demands on mind and body are somewhat less severe.

Earl of Cardigan acquitted of assault

A Wiltshire aristocrat has been acquitted of assaulting one of his family estate's trustees.

Anglo American sells a £1.1bn stake

Anglo American has agreed to sell a stake in its coveted south central Chile properties to Chilean rival Codelco for $1.7bn (£1.1bn), a discount to the $2.8bn market price, ending a bruising 10-month battle between the mining titans.

Equestrian: Badminton Horse Trials cancelled following heavy rain

Organisers have cancelled this year's Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials after they accepted there was "no chance" of the ground drying out in time.

Thieves steal car with five-year-old boy inside

A mother described today how she was "traumatised" when thieves stole her performance car with her five-year-old son still inside.

Qantas to axe 1,000 jobs and launch two new airlines

The Australian airline Qantas is to cut up to 1,000 jobs as part of a major shake-up of its international business that will include the launch of a new Asia-based airline.

Mitsubishi and Rio bid for all of Coal & Allied

Rio Tinto and Mitsubishi have offered to buy out the smaller shareholders in Australia's Coal & Allied Industries for A$1.5bn (£948m) in the latest sign of consolidation in the international mining sector.

Deloitte survey points to long wait for mass adoption of electric cars

A Europe-wide survey conducted by the consulting firm Deloitte points to widespread interest in electric vehicles (EVs), but also suggests that only a minority think that they may be in the first wave of customers for the technology themselves.

A force to be reckoned with

Mitsubishi's customised police vehicles

Julian Knight: Lordy! 'Never had it so good' gaffe costs Young his job. But he was right

I'm glad Lord Young has gone, but not for his "never had it so good" gaffe.

Peugeot Ion

You'll save thousands on fuel, and might even help save the planet, but the new Peugeot Ion will end up costing you a packet
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Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
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British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
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The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value
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food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
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Two christmas trees ,Moonbeam (2L), Moonchester (2R) and Santa Claus outside the Etihad Stadium
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Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
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The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
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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
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

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
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas