Mark Steel: If you can avoid tax, why bother to leave?

Bank robbers don't declare what they have done so let's not make it illegal

Credit crisis diary: Ofcom promises staff they will go to the races

Life working for a regulator may be more exciting than you'd think. Ofcom, for example, is currently advertising for apprentices to train "in the diagnosis and resolution of radio spectrum interference complaints and associated regulatory/enforcement matters". The good folk at the telecoms regulator clearly realise the job is a hard sell, even in these tough economic times. "Shadowing our experienced engineers in the Field Operations team, you will get the opportunity to learn from the experts and may be involved in some exciting and high-profile projects and major events such as the Formula 1 Grand Prix", the advert promises.

The Vanishing Face of Gaia, By James Lovelock<br />He Knew He Was Right, By John Gribbin and Mary Gribbin

It is one of the supreme ironies of intellectual and scientific history that a profound new understanding of the Earth should come along just in time to forecast its end.

Zavvi Christmas vouchers 'worthless'

People given Zavvi gift vouchers for Christmas will be disappointed if they try to use them: the beleaguered entertainment retailer's administrators yesterday said that the tokens were worthless in stores and would not be accepted.

Virgin territory Branson plans test of commercial spacecraft

Virgin Galactic's 'WhiteKnightTwo', the mothership of 'SpaceShipTwo', will take to the air for the first time in the next 10 days. Sir Richard Branson, pictured here with a model of the revolutionary, all-carbon composite, four-engine jet, hopes to be at the Mojave Air & Space Port in the Californian desert for the first flight and plans to make a test flight himself. Once the testing has been carried out, the mothership will move on to take 'SpaceShipTwo', the passenger rocket, which fits between its twin fuselages, for its first practice run. Virgin said 248 people have paid $200,000 (£130,000) each for flights, which could begin within two years.

Thomson in race to make Vendee start line

A still stunned Alex Thomson was nevertheless working feverishly to save his assault on the Vendee Globe non-stop singlehanded round the world race yesterday in a boatbuilding shed alongside the pontoons holding 28 of the 30 gleaming 60-footers.

BA boss digs in for long haul

Few businessmen are as exposed to collapsing demand and high energy prices as Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways. Yet Jeremy Warner finds him in resilient mood, determined to take the opportunities for consolidation he thinks the economic downturn is certain to bring

Cole Moreton: These Limeys may be too slimy for the States

We have stood shoulder to shoulder through times of war and crisis, but now the special relationship between Britain and America faces its biggest challenge yet. Can it withstand Little Britain USA? The show starts there tonight on HBO, but advance screenings have had the critics howling with dismay and indignation.

Quotes of the day - 25 September

"Without immediate action by Congress, America could slip into a financial panic" - President George Bush, in his televised broadcast to the American people.

Virgin: BA's Terminal 5 flyers have stayed

Another front in the long-running battle between Virgin Atlantic and British Airways is set be opened by Sir Richard Branson's group, which claims that it has kept the passengers that deserted BA at the height of the Terminal 5 fiasco in March.

David Prosser's Outlook: This time, even Sir Richard Branson may not be able to ground his big enemy

It's good to know that in a world of perpetual change, there are still a few constants to which we can all desperately cling for stability. Specifically, that come hell or high water, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic will always be at each other's throats. So much so that even before Willie Walsh announced yesterday that BA and American Airlines were applying for anti-trust immunity (ATI) in order to forge a new partnership on flights between Europe and North America, Sir Richard Branson, Virgin's boss, had already had a tantrum about the idea.

The Weekend's TV: There's going to be trouble in paradise

Make Me A Christian, Sun Channel 4; Britain From Above, Sun BBC1

Branson unveils carrier for first space tourists

The mothership which will launch the first space tourists into the atmosphere was unveiled by Sir Richard Branson in California yesterday.

Space travel: Are we nearly there yet?

Fifty years ago, President Eisenhower created Nasa. Since then, we've sent men to the moon and robots to Mars &ndash; but the dream of regular tourist flights into space has still not been realised

A real page-turner? No, but it may change the way we read

An electronic gadget capable of storing hundreds of downloadable "ebooks" that could do for the written word what the iPod did for music is to be launched in over 300 stores across Britain

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Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvRicky Gervais on the return of 'Derek' – and why he still ignores his critics
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Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
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Homer meets Lego Marge in the 25th anniversary episode of The Simpsons, set to air on 4 May
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James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
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Infant child breast-feeding with eyes closed
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Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
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Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal