Tent-dwelling Syrian refugees forced into debt by high rents in Lebanon

When she fled the bloodshed Syria with her five children Ferdaws didn’t expect to have to pay live in a tent. Her sons scavenge for scrap metal - the only income the family has - but she has been unable to avoid falling into debt. 

Le Reve by Picasso has been reportedly bought for $155 million by a hedge fund manager

Sold for $155m to American hedge fund manager Steven A. Cohen: Picasso that was worth $16m less before it got ripped

Casino magnate who tore masterpiece with his elbow sets record price for artist with deal

Le Reve by Picasso has been reportedly bought for $155 million by a hedge fund manager

American hedge fund manager Steven A. Cohen 'buys Picasso for record $155 million'

Hedge fund manager Steven A. Cohen has bought a famous Picasso painting from casino mogul Steve Wynn for a record price, according to a report in the New York Post.

Rajaratnam's brother charged with insider dealing

Prosecutors in New York have charged Rengan Rajaratnam, the brother of the convicted hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, with conspiracy and securities fraud, accusing him of conspiring with his sibling in insider trading.

Diesel laundering operation smashed after dawn raids north and south of Irish border

Detectives have smashed a massive multimillion-euro diesel laundering plant in one of the biggest cross-border operations of its kind in Britain or Ireland.

Interim President Nicolas Maduro; Henrique Capriles is the most likely choice to challenge Maduro in a snap election

Anointed heir of Hugo Chavez faces competition for the poisoned chalice

Interim President Nicolas Maduro faces a battle to succeed El Comandante

Dollars or pounds? Please solve my Cuban currency conundrum

Q&A: Travel unravelled

Anthony Hilton: The Government could easily put women on top if it really wanted to

If the Government wants more women in senior positions, the solution is in its hands

In South Africa alone, 633 rhinos were killed in 2012

Top of the conference agenda: The last chance to save the rhino

With illegal trade in rhinos and elephants soaring, East Asian countries are under pressure to cut demand

Editorial: The horns of a dilemma

The good news is that the illegal killing of some of the world’s most endangered mammals will top the agenda at next week’s conservation summit. But there the good news ends. Attempts to control poaching are failing, rhino and elephant numbers across Africa are being devastated, and unless the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) can galvanise global action some populations of these precious animals could be wiped out.

Anthony Hilton: Shared audits add up to a sensible solution

Lunch on Wednesday with Michael Snyder, chair of the Professional and Businesses Services Group, one of the network of advisory committees for government. He, in his day job, is long-time head of Kingston Smith, a mid-sized accounting firm.

Row after HMRC publishes tax cheats' names

The tax authorities named and shamed tax defaulters on Thursday, publishing their names and adresses on the HM Revenue & Customs website.

Australia levels ‘abuse of power’ claim at Visa

Visa, the world’s largest electronic payment network, is being sued by the Australian competition watchdog over alleged abuses of its power.

Garlic scam man awaits cut in sentence

A businessman jailed over a 1.6 million euro (£1.3 million) garlic import duty scam has been remanded back into custody while appeal judges decide by how much to reduce his sentence.

Ambergris from whales is quite rare

£100,000 for whale vomit? That’s sick

Why is ambergris worth so much money? Simon Usborne holds his nose and finds out

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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
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'