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Outlook Congratulations to Mary Barra, who has become the first female boss of a big US car maker by taking over General Motors just as it stopped being unofficially known as Government Motors.

Ségolène Royal: France's first female president?

Once she was just a geeky minister from the provinces with bad teth and questionable dress sense. Now she's on the brink of an astounding political breakthrough. Could Ségolène Royal become France's first female president? John Lichfield joins her on the campaign trail

England hopes ride on a bicycle made for Roo

The latest bulletin on Wayne Rooney's health has been described as "very, very positive" by the England team doctor Leif Sward. The Manchester United striker was seen riding a bicycle around the club's Carrington training ground on Friday as he endeavours to recover from breaking a metatarsal in his right foot.

MG Rover: It's over. What went wrong?

Giles Chapman on the history of a car-maker that consistently failed to grab chances of survival

FOOTBALL: REYES `FLATTERED' BY LINK TO REAL BUT `HAPPY' AT ARSENAL

Jose Antonio Reyes said he is "flattered" by reports linking him with Real Madrid but said he intends to remain at Arsenal. "Not only am I under contract at Arsenal, I am happy here and committed to helping the team win more trophies," he said.

TOP TEN BEST SELLERS

1 Ford Focus

ME AND MY CAR: CLAIRE SWEENEY ACTRESS

My first car

BMW has final say over Rover's Chinese rescue deal

The German car maker BMW will have to vet the deal between MG Rover and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation which will result in effective control of the UK car maker passing into Chinese hands.

Workers are left to question motives of the Phoenix Four

So who exactly are the Phoenix Four - the men who bought MG Rover from BMW? John Towers, the current chairman and former chief executive of the Birmingham-based car group, has always been the driving force behind the quartet.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'