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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.

Renold is back in the money

A company whose products are found in Big Ben's clock tower and the Thames Barrier has returned a half-year profit for the first time in two years.

Nature Club: From badgers to blackberries, readers report on their recent wildlife highlights

A family of badgers – two adults and three young – visit my garden. I've taken pictures, but they are so shy they disappear at the slightest sound. The female is the one with the mottled nose. When badgers fight, they often grab their opponent's nose and bite. The pinkish colouring is scar tissue from battles.

Staines considers name change to shed comedy connection

A town is considering a change of name in a bid to shake off links with the comedy character Ali G, local councillors said today.

Thames: The tale that the river told

Fifty years ago, it was biologically dead. In 2010, the Thames is in rude health. It's a transformation with huge implications, says Alice-Azania Jarvis

The Big Six: Hotels by the Thames

AA warns over speed cameras

Lives will be put at risk if councils scrap speed cameras, the AA warns. A recent switch-off of cameras in the Thames Valley area alarmed residents and there now appeared to be a "road safety policy void", the motoring group said.

Lee Ryan assault charge withdrawn

An assault charge against boy band singer Lee Ryan was withdrawn at the request of his partner when he appeared in court today.

'Walls of fat' removed from London's sewers

Enough fat to fill nine double-decker buses is being removed from sewers under London's Leicester Square.

Burley Cross Postbox Theft, By Nicola Barker

This epistolary novel looks behind twitching curtains

Accessing MI5 files on July 7 'impossible', inquest told

Revealing top secret MI5 files about the July 7 bombers to the families of those killed in the attacks would be "impossible", it was claimed today.

Former doorman to face Milly Dowler murder charge

A former doorman is set to appear in court facing charges of kidnapping and murdering 13-year-old Milly Dowler in 2002.

Open again after 145 years, the eighth wonder of the world

How do you turn an underwater tunnel with a flooding problem into a national sensation? Arifa Akbar tells the extraordinary story of the 'Thames Tunnel'

Thames Barrier closed again to protect capital

The Thames Barrier was closed for the third time in two days today to protect London from a combination of high tides and swollen rivers following heavy rainfall over the weekend.

Thames barrier closed for second time in 24 hours

Flood warnings remained in place across the country today although the heavy rain which affected England and Wales is expected to ease off.

Mystery of the disappearing Thames eels

98 per cent drop in river's population in the past five years
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Barn owls are among species that could be affected
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Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
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After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
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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
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Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas