ROK to make 160 workers redundant at troubled plumbers

Listed construction group Rok is set to make more than 150 people redundant as a result of financial problems at the England division of its plumbing, heating and electrical business.

Rok suspends finance chief and issues profits warning

The building group Rok issued its second profits warning in just three months yesterday and suspended its finance director over "serious failings" in financial controls at its plumbing, heating and electrical (PHE) business.

1 in 4 Blue Flag beaches 'should lose status'

More than a quarter of Britain's top-rated beaches should be stripped of their Blue Flag status, campaigners said today.

Gaza ban on women smoking pipes

Hamas has banned women from smoking water pipes in Gaza's cafés, calling it a practice that destroys marriages and sullies the image of Palestinians.

Travis Perkins buys plumbing and heating firm for £557m

Travis Perkins has agreed to acquire BSS Group for £557m to become the UK's biggest plumbing and heating distributor.

Wolseley plots sale of tool hire business

Proposed sale of Brandon Hire could be the first step in a revamp of the building materials group's UK operations

Minor British Institutions: The British Toilet Association

It is all too easy to deride the BTA – until you find yourself caught short, in which case you might want to sign up to their mission statement: "More and better toilets". It reminds us that our public lavvys were once the envy of the world, a national expression of our excellence in sewerage and plumbing.

DIY: Unblock the sink - with your laptop

Online how-to guides, blogs and instructional videos are transforming the way we renovate our properties, says home-improvement addict Anna Leach

Everyone’s doing
character analysis

Ranking games characters has been a popular sport this week. Both ‘Empire’ and ‘Entertainment Weekly’ have been having a go.

In The Red: 'This time I'm definitely selling my flat – I think'

Right. Deep breaths. Here we go: I think I want to sell my flat. I’m not, it has to be said, 100% sure. But I’m fairly certain, so there you go; that’s about as much of a definite statement as you can hope for from a chronically indecisive commitment phobe like me. In fact, this is one of the reasons I want to sell. So that I can rent. So that I’m not tied down. So that I can up and leave at a moment’s (or, at least, a few months’) notice.

Travis Perkins offers £553m for rival BSS

Travis Perkins has made an indicative offer of £553m for its rival BSS Group in a deal which would create Britain's biggest plumbing and heating supplies business.

The City Diary: Wheel keeps turning: Work's not just for fools and horses – ask The Plumber

Slackbelly exposes The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of The Square Mile

The real Mario is
finally revealed

For anyone who thought that Mario existed only in a fantasy world where plumbers spend their days fighting angry plants and rescuing princesses, think again.

Buyers guide to doing your due diligence

Found your dream home? Kate Watson-Smyth presents the essential buyer's guide
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Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
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Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
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Customers look at the new iPhones on display at the launch of the new Apple iPhone 6 and iphone 6 plus at the Apple IFC store in Hong Kong
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Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer, Douglas Booth and Jack Farthing in ‘The Riot Club’
propertyfilmReview: It's the sheer nastiness of the Riot Club that takes you aback, says Geoffrey Macnab

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Prices correct as of 17 September 2014
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week