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.

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into conflicts
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

Arts and Entertainment
Liam and Zayn of One Direction play with a chimpanzee on the set of their new video for 'Steal My Girl'
music

Animal welfare charities have urged the boy band to cut the scenes

News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
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India & Nepal
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Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
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Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker