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
Travel
travel
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Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
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Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
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Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
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Pornography is more accessible - and harder to avoid - than ever
news... but they still admit watching it
News
Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
science
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
musicKate Bush asks fans not to take photos at London gigs
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Day In a Page

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
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
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
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment