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

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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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Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?