Andrew Martin: I'd let the French run our trains

Their approach to railways is at once hard-headed and romantic
The‘Quad’: David Cameron, George Osborne, Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander

Dominic Lawson: No one, rich or poor, willingly gives up a benefit, however indefensible

None of us is exactly alike in our behaviour – fortunately; but generalisations can certainly be made about human reaction to both good and bad luck. Generalisation one is that we are greatly cast down by a sudden adverse change in our circumstances, but then gradually get used to the new arrangement, and eventually become as happy (or unhappy) as we were beforehand. Generalisation two is that the anger we feel at someone taking something from us tends to be a more powerful sentiment than the gratitude we feel towards someone bestowing a favour on us (the first we feel is undeserved, the second we take as our due).

Pointing the way: Russell Brand at the Secret Policeman’s Ball at Radio City in New York

Secret Policeman's Ball: Stand-up and be counted

Russell Brand stole the show as American and British comics vied for laughs in New York

The Twitter 100: The full at-a-glance list

Click on any link for the full details and scores of each individual in The Twitter 100

Follow @richardbranson " title="

Richard Branson

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The Twitter 100: Top 10 business

Including Richard Branson, Lord Sugar, Umair Haque and Peter Jones

Money Insider: Virgin Money kicks off as Branson plays to win

The Virgin marketing machine was super quick out of the blocks this year, announcing a two-season shirt sponsorship with Newcastle United Football Club before many of us had taken down the Christmas trimmings. The timing couldn't have been better too, as the deal was struck the day before a rousing 3-0 triumph over Manchester United.

Fortune favours the bold

With youth unemployment at over one million, entrepreneurship holds the key for the UK to recover out of the recession, says Rajeeb Dey

Building up credit: Sir Richard wants to make things transparent and fair in his new approach to taking care of people's money

Sir Richard Branson: 'Bankers were greedy, they're discredited. With me, people can see who's accountable'

The Business Interview: Margareta Pagano meets the entrepreneur aiming to restore the British public's flagging trust in banks through Virgin Money's £747m takeover of Northern Rock

Stephen Hawking in his office at Cambridge last month

I owe it all to my father – Hawking marks milestone of 70th birthday

Illness kept him from his party, but the physicist still gave a moving talk about his life. Steve Connor reports

Singer Cheryl Cole

Caught and social: The celebrity winners and losers

Yesterday we brought you some of the key parties and events from the UK this year, today here are some of big events of the celebrity world in 2011.

BA tightens its Heathrow grip with £172m BMI buy

Deal is screwing the travelling public, says Branson after Virgin Atlantic's rival bid fails

Nicholas Lezard: At least nice guys like me are luckier in love

I tend now only to work for those nice left-leaning publications which pay you in hugs and sweet smiles

Business Diary: Roussos to rescue in Greece

Greece, your problems are over. France Dimanche has found the perfect man to lead you out of these dark times: step forward musical superstar Demis Roussos. "I'd love to serve my country," Roussos tells the newspaper. "I already see myself as an ambassador and if someone were to ask me, I could see myself as a minister." Roussos even has a master plan for a new export strategy based on "truffles, olive oil, and Aegean natural gas". Now if we can just persuade Nana Mouskouri to serve too.

Carr says: 'I like the familiarity of certain hotels. It's like having a local pub on the road'

My Life In Travel: Jimmy Carr, comedian and television presenter

'Staying on Necker Island I really felt like James Bond'

Kate Winslet will 'never forget' house fire

Kate Winslet will "never forget" escaping the fire that destroyed Sir Richard Branson's Caribbean home.

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A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935