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.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried