News

Apple's disappointing update this week sent shares in most of its suppliers tumbling, but smartphone parts maker Laird got City approval after its strategy update yesterday.

Market Report: BG Group nosedive sparks takeover talk

Huge share price falls get the City chattering about takeovers. The 13 per cent slump in BG Group's share price sparked just that yesterday.Dealers in the square mile were already gossiping by lunch time that the oil and gas group could be a takeover target for Shell.

Banks may seize indebted household waste collector Biffa

One of Britain's largest household waste collectors may be seized by its lenders because of crippling debts.

James Ashton: Qataris know that Heathrow is what really matters to BAA

Outlook Those Qataris must know something we don't. Only a day or so ago, they laid out £900m for a fifth of BAA, the owner of Heathrow. No sooner is the ink dry than BAA has thrown in the towel on its bid to hang onto Stansted airport, which it was ordered to sell by the Competition Commission three years ago.

The Market Report: Spotlight on Ithaca as bid talk returns

Are punters prepared to risk their hard-earned cash on Ithaca Energy again? There were plenty of burnt fingers in the Square Mile last month after the North Sea explorer called an end to bid talks with a number of suitors having failed to agree a deal, but yesterday takeover hopes were being stoked up once more.

Severn Trent pays £150m special dividend

Severn Trent announced a one-off, £150m special dividend for shareholders yesterday, as the water company cut leaks by 7 per cent to a record low last year.

Drought-hit water firm may buy in supplies

The hosepipe ban has put certain water firms under such pressure that at least one is considering deals with other companies across the country.

More takeovers in the water works

The sale of Northumbrian to Li Ka-Shing could be just the start of a wave of deals in the water industry

Fall in usage slows, says Severn Trent

Severn Trent has reported a smaller than expected decline in water consumption amid near drought conditions over the spring.

The Week Ahead: US and Europe set to hold back SABMiller

With its attempted takeover of Foster's seemingly stalled, SABMiller's trading performance will be in focus this week when the world's second-biggest brewer releases its update for the first quarter on Thursday.

Market Report: International hopes help WH Smith to advance

It may be a British institution, but WH Smith was being praised for its potential beyond these shores last night as the high-street stalwart charged up the mid-tier index.

Market Report: Bid hopes and cost cuts boost Micro Focus

Claims investors are underestimating both the likelihood of a bid and the positive effects of recent cost-cutting measures gave a boost to Micro Focus yesterday, helping the software company rise up the mid-tier index.

Farmers fear the worst after driest spring since records began

Crop yields could be cut by half as parts of Britain are declared drought zones – and hosepipe bans loom for millions

Leading article: Preparation is the only defence against drought

The consequences of an exceptionally dry spring are hitting home.

Drought grips parts of UK

"Intense" drought conditions are gripping parts of the UK after another month of scarce rainfall in some areas, experts said today.

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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
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
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