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The gross payouts will be £2.25bn less in 2014 than in 2013

£30m loss for PC World owner

The owner of Currys and PC World today continued a grim week for the high street's biggest names after plunging almost £30 million into the red.

VAT: Conservatives will vote against rate cut

Conservatives last night vowed to vote against Alistair Darling's plans for a 2.5 per cent temporary cut in VAT, as ministers faced claims that the centrepiece of the pre-Budget report would not do enough to kick-start Britain's weakening economy.

Credit insurers face huge rise in premiums

With more suppliers set to claim for bad debts, the cost of reinsuring risk could soar by over 10 per cent

Comet's credit insurance cut back as crisis spreads

Coface reduces insurance cover to some suppliers

BBC presenter thought Queen Mother was a 'bigot'

The Queen Mother once labelled some of Britain's EU colleagues as "Huns, wops and dagos", a BBC broadcaster has said.

High street worries grow as sales slump at John Lewis

Retailing hit as consumer slowdown gathers pace

Frugal shoppers trim spending on food

DSGi and Sports Direct also feel effects of downturn

Sony cuts profit forecast because of strong yen

Sony fuelled fears of a global recession yesterday as it issued a profits warning and warned it had been badly hit by the strength of the yen and plunging demand for flat-screen televisions and digital cameras.

Currys owner scales back investment

Consumer electronics giant DSG today said it planned to cut capital expenditure by around £30m this year as part of efforts to deal with deteriorating consumer confidence across Europe.

Short-sellers turn on pubs and retailers

Short-sellers barred from betting against financial services companies have instead stepped up their targeting of the UK's biggest pub companies and retailers as they try to cash in on the deteriorating consumer outlook.

Retailers braced for a tough Christmas

More retailers released dire trading figures yesterday, reinforcing fears that the sector is heading for its worst Christmas in 30 years.

DSGi trumpets its cost savings amid retail gloom

DSGi unveiled dire trading at its Currys and PC World stores in the UK yesterday, and revealed that it does not expect trading conditions to improve until 2010.

DSG cautious on consumer outlook

European electrical goods retailer DSG International Plc said it did not expect its markets to recover before 2010 as it posted a drop in first-quarter underlying sales and profit margins and pledged to cut more costs.

Sam Warner: Once trusted and admired, Glitter is all the more reviled

The intense public interest in the former pop star's behaviour reflects deeper concerns about how a child sex offender could inveigle his way into our affections, and highlights the need to prevent such criminals from fleeing abroad to find fresh victims

Deborah Orr: The real scandal of Gary Glitter

It is estimated that worldwide, 1 million children are vulnerable to abuse by sexual tourists
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A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
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Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
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Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
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Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
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What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
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Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
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Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
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