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All-cash deal is the second largest in Google's history after the $12.5 billion acquisition of mobile phone maker Motorola in 2012

Who eats where: Your usual table?; Daniel Galvin Haircolourist

On the rare occasions that my family is together for a meal, we head for Sunday lunch at the Sir Charles Napier (near Chinnor, Oxfordshire, 01494 483 011) The owner, Julie Griffiths, goes out of her way to make sure you're comfortable. Being in the service industry myself, that kind of courtesy means a lot. There are too many places where the people serving you give the impression that they're doing you a favour. The quality of customer relations at the Sir Charles Napier is one of the reasons why it is always busy.

Fathers: Dads army

More and more fathers are choosing to stay at home to look after the kids full-time - and they're not all New Men in touch with their feminine side.

Lack of skills forces change in training

SKILL SHORTAGES have hit output in nearly half of British companies over the last year, according to a new annual enquiry conducted by the Confederation of British Industry.

Growth will relax without a rate rise

ARE THEY going to raise interest rates this week? No, I don't think they are - or perhaps I should say, since our monetary masters retain the ability to surprise, I see many reasons why they should not do so.

Scottish decline

Scottish decline

One size cannot fit all in the new euro-zone

Monetary policy will inevitably be wrong for some parts of the European economy

Waiters to charge pounds 1,000 for working on millennium eve

WAITERS willing to work on New Year's Eve 1999 are demanding a millennial sum to mark the millennium: pounds 1,000 to serve customers wanting to toast the end of the century.

Vibroplant in profit

VIBROPLANT, THE specialist plant hire group, returned to profit in the year to 31 March. Turnover rose by a third to pounds 49m and profits reached pounds 1.46m, plus an exceptional write-back of pounds 730,000 from previous provisions on the disposal of the US business.

MPC set to keep rates unchanged

THE Bank of England is firmly expected to leave interest rates unchanged at 7.25 per cent today, at the end of its Monetary Policy Committee's monthly meeting.

I have seen the future and it doesn't work

Are you ready for the future? A world of cyberspace conferences, e-mail memos, technological elites and down-trodden service workers. Jobs as we know them are finished, says Helen Jones.

Health: Real men can have feelings

The motor trade might not be the first place you would look to find a group of males discussing the things that get them down at work and home. It's a healthy trend - but will it catch on? By Peter Baker

Smaller Companies: Cleaning up with Johnson

LIKE many small firms, Johnson Group Cleaners lacks a high profile, so you would be forgiven if you didn't know that it owns the largest dry- cleaning business in the US. With 308 stores, including 10 huge drive- through outlets, however, this still only adds up to a 2 per cent share in what remains an extremely fragmented market.

Sterling slips as rate fear recedes

THE BANK of England's Monetary Policy Committee is expected to leave interest rates unchanged at the end of its two-day meeting today, with many analysts increasingly confident that there will be no further rises in the cost of borrowing.

Companies face growing staff turnover problem

HIGH staff turnover - the scourge of labour-intensive businesses in the boom years of the late 1980s - has returned to plague British companies. More than a third of organisations report that employee turnover and the costly problems associated with it have got considerably worse over the past three years.
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future