'Recession over,' says respected think-tank

The recovery is losing some momentum, but the National Institute for Economic and Social Research, the nation's oldest and most respected economic think-tank, says that the recession is "over", adding that the "UK economy's strong performance over the past seven months does not suggest a further round of quantitative easing is currently necessary".

Leading article: The new word order

The National Scrabble Championships in London yesterday witnessed a titanic battle between the 44-year-old, four-time champion, Mark Nyman, and a 33-year-old challenger, Mikki Nicholson. In the end, it was Nicholson who emerged victorious after five closely fought games.

Turn empty shops and offices into schools, says charity

Government urged to learn new three Rs – refresh, refurbish and reuse – to solve buildings crisis.

Howard Jacobson: The end of the pier is too big a loss to bear

A pier never feels entirely English. Isn’t that what we love – its foreignness, its riskiness?

National Theatre to be redeveloped

Ambitious £70m plans to redevelop the Royal National Theatre have been given the go-ahead. The South Bank theatre will be "opened up", revealing some of the workings backstage, and will provide seating for an extra 10,000 visitors a year.

Turf wars prevent Whitehall tackling Britain's fraudsters

Rivalry between departments puts planned economic crime 'super agency' at risk

Cultural Life: Neil LaBute, playwright

Films: I've been on a French cinema kick for many years now – recently loved 'Mademoiselle Chambon' (simple and heartbreaking) in the cinema and 'A Prophet' (brutal, devastating) again on DVD. Also saw part one of 'Mesrine', the Vincent Cassel crime epic, and can't wait to see the second half. Rented a film I didn't know called 'The Man of My Life', starring Charles Berling; the film was a bit fussy technically but Berling created a touching portrait of a charming, restless gay loner.

Brain scan promises to identify the hidden sufferers of autism

Autism could in future be diagnosed in 15 minutes from a brain scan – saving patients and their families years of suffering from a condition that can go unrecognised for decades.

Fiona Reynolds: 'In difficult times, simple pleasures are important'

An ever-expanding National Trust is playing a crucial role in people's lives, its director general, Fiona Reynolds, tells Andy McSmith

Danton’s Death, National Theatre: Olivier, London

Focusing on the Terror of 1794, Büchner's 1835 play Danton's Death was written in secret when the 22-year-old author was himself under police interrogation after a failed attempt to rouse the Hessian peasantry.

Ministry of Defence 'living beyond means'

The Ministry of Defence must learn to stop "living beyond its means" and start budgeting more realistically, the Whitehall spending watchdog said today.

Brain scan promises to identify the hidden sufferers of autism

Autism could in future be diagnosed in 15 minutes from a brain scan – saving patients and their families years of suffering from a condition that can go unrecognised for decades.

Youth consultant groomed schoolgirl for sex online

A youth consultant today admitted grooming a 13-year-old girl for sex online.

Sarah Arnott: All the signs point to another big slowdown

As the IMF revised downwards its growth forecasts for the British economy, a slew of domestic data did little to dispel the sense of foreboding yesterday. House prices fell by 0.6 per cent between May and June, which was the fourth decline in five months, according to the Halifax. And it is not just the property market showing signs of strain. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research, in its monthly estimate for gross domestic product (GDP), said that growth had slowed to 0.7 per cent over the three months to June, compared with 0.9 per cent in the three months to May. The rate was dragged down by month-on-month declines in both April and June. The Bank of England's decision to hold interest rates at 0.5 per cent also added to the uncertainty. While the Bank's decision came as no surprise in the City, it nonetheless confirmed that policymakers remain more concerned about growth than inflation.

In The Kitchen, By Monica Ali

When Monica Ali wrote her second book, Alentejo Blue, set in Portugal, it appeared as if she was attempting to escape the cultural demographics of her sensational debut, Brick Lane, which offered a comedic stance on melting-pot Britain through colourfully drawn Bangladeshi immigrants.

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Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

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