News

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

Optimism rises in service sector

A glimmer of good news broke through the gathering clouds of recession yesterday, as the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply revealed that managers in the service sector – representing about 70 per cent of the economy – are at their most optimistic about prospects in three months.

Flagging confidence has spread to business services, says CBI

Falling profitability and flagging confidence have spread from the consumer sector to Britain's business and professional services firms, a survey of the services industry shows.

Britain lurches towards recession

Fears that Britain may soon slide into recession were fuelled yesterday by news that the economy grew by just 0.2 per cent in the second quarter, down from the already poor 0.3 per cent recorded in the first three months of the year and the weakest rate of growth in three years.

Minutes show split over rates decision

The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee split three ways when it met to set interest rates earlier this month. Although the MPC voted by 8 to 1 to keep rates on hold, the minutes of the meeting, published yesterday, suggested some members were keen to raise rates immediately to dampen inflationary pressures, though in the event they voted for no change.

Instructions for Modern Living, Barbican, London

"Have you ever noticed," asks Duncan Sarkies, "that in just about every children's story you've ever read there's a happy ending?" And have we never realised, he says, the coercive aspect of such injunctions as "Merry Christmas"?

New limits on firms offering tax break on share options

Many employees of small businesses may lose their entitlement to tax relief under Budget provisions on the enterprise management incentive (EMI) scheme, despite an announcement from the Chancellor that he would make the initiative more generous.

The Greatest Story Ever Told

Directed by George Stevens

Inventory figures worst since 1973

Indications of underlying weakness in the economy came yesterday as the Office for National Statistics confirmed that the UK economy grew by 0.6 per cent in the final quarter of 2007, giving an official annual growth rate for the year of 3.1 per cent, in line with previous estimates.

Dismal data on US services spook markets

Stock markets on both sides of the Atlantic endured another difficult day as a round of depressing economic data pummelled the exchanges yesterday.

Leading article: The heart of the matter

Bernard Ribeiro, the president of the Royal College of Surgeons, is evidently a brave man. The heads of professional bodies do not usually prosper by demanding more transparency from their members. And one suspects that Dr Ribeiro's suggestion that Britain's 6,000 surgeons should make their clinical records available to patients is unlikely to be greeted with wild enthusiasm by the RCS.

Contractors warn over hospitals 'deep clean'

Gordon Brown's much trumpeted hospital "deep clean" is in danger of becoming a "£50 million flash in the pan", cleaning contractors warned today.

Secuestro Express (18)

If you really must scare yourself this week, try Jonathan Jakubowicz's harrowing kidnap drama for size. It recounts the quite nightmarish ordeal of a young couple, Carla (Mia Maestro) and Martin (Jean Paul Leroux), who emerge from a Caracas nightclub straight into the itchy hands of three gun-toting thugs, the kidnapping of the affluent middle-classes being at epidemic levels in the Venezuelan capital. Most abduction dramas vary the pace as the victim acclimates to the surroundings; this one just goes at headlong, terrifying speed through 24 hours of vicious criminality. Here is a place so dangerous that you can be held up even while someone else is kidnapping you. No use looking to the police for help; they're scumbags and rapists too. Jakubowicz, who had a struggle on his hands getting this feature debut made, films in a city as divided as Victorian London between privilege and privation, and the stink of class war rising from its ghetto housing is almost palpable. Venezuela for a holiday? You'd have to be Caracas.

Slowdown threatens to put Brown forecasts at risk

The economy is braced for a sharp slowdown early next year according to a raft of gloomy forecasts published today which cast further doubt on the Chancellor Gordon Brown's ambitious growth targets.

Industrial output stalls, leaving growth weakest since last year

A slump in British industrial output in the third quarter led to the weakest economic growth since early last year.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee