London First is a body set up about 20 years ago by the London business community to promote the city as a place to do business and to lobby for the improvements – particularly to infrastructure – which everyone knows we urgently need but which government seems incapable of planning for.

Basketball: Handy intervention foils brave Chester

THE UNDERDOGS nearly had their day at Birmingham's NEC yesterday where the Uni-ball Trophy holders, Manchester Giants, came back from 12 points down in the fourth quarter to defeat Chester Jets 83-82 and reach the semi-finals.

The Sweeper: Song Sheet

Addicks fans sing Wings

Nuclear waste fed into Thames stream

BRITAIN'S nuclear weapons facility was fined pounds 17,500 yesterday after admitting that for almost two years until February this year it illegally discharged radioactive waste into a stream feeding the Thames.

Thames is `unsafe for millennium party' claim

FEARS HAVE been raised about safety on the Thames in London, ahead of millennium celebrations in which the river will play a central role.

Thames Water expands into America with pounds 575m agreed takeover of E'town

THAMES WATER rejected yesterday suggestions that it was overpaying in its haste to expand internationally after unveiling an agreed pounds 575m takeover of the fourth biggest publicly-owned water company in the US.

Outlook: Thames flows west in search of regulatory relief

WELCOME TO Soprano country. The New Jersey mafioso must have seen the limeys coming; Thames Water has agreed to cough up big time without a severed horse's head even in sight. That at least was the interpretation the market placed upon Thames' decision to fork out a whopping pounds 577m for E'town - no, lamentably not another Internet venture but America's fourth biggest publicly-quoted water company.

Letter: Care on the streets

Sir: Deborah Orr's article "If you're on the street, you need more than soup" (16 November) makes some pertinent points about the way in which voluntary agencies work with the homeless and I strongly support her view that hostels have to find ways of accommodating the most difficult of people, including drug users who are unable or unwilling to stop using. She is also quite right to point out that giving food and money to people on the streets is not a long-term solution to ending rough sleeping in this country.

Marchioness families furious over Prescott's `broken promise'

SURVIVORS AND families of victims of the Marchioness disaster yesterday renewed their 10-year fight for a public inquiry, saying they had been misled by the Government.

Go-Ahead may be stripped of Thames Train franchise

SENIOR RAIL industry executives believe it is increasingly likely that the bus and rail group Go-Ahead will be stripped of its Thames Train franchise following the Paddington disaster last month in which 31 people died.

Basketball: Ford claim will spur on Riders

DERBY STORM have some way to go before justifying the claim of their coach, Martin Ford, that they are the "best team in the championship", but his words will have pride of place in the Leicester City Riders' locker room before tonight's game.

Dead man thought racism was `routine', inquest told

ONE of the last people to see a young Asian student alive told his inquest yesterday that his friend had not taken a violent racist attack seriously because it was nothing out of the ordinary.

Investment column: Thames Water still offers value despite short- term profits ebb

IT WOULD hardly strengthen Thames Water's appeal to Sir Ian Byatt, the water regulator, to post stellar financial results just three weeks ahead of the completion of his review into the industry.

Basketball: Towers hit by licence crisis

LONDON TOWERS' plans for the new season were thrown into disarray last night when the Basketball League issued temporary licences for only nine players out of their squad of 12, after discussions failed to resolve the conflict over how many of their players can be fitted under the salary cap.

Millennium Wheel may not be able to stand upright on New Year's Eve

THE MILLENNIUM Wheel, one of the showpieces of the capital's celebrations, may not be ready for its 31 December deadline.

Millennium wheel delay

London's 450ft millennium ferris wheel will be erected on the banks of the Thames at least 12 days late. Engineers are trying to solve a fault that stopped it being raised last week.
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
Life and Style
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
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Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own