Andy McSmith's Diary: Hedge funds, the Tories’ cash cow, eagerly repay favours

A measure in George Osborne’s 2013 Budget which made no headlines outside the financial pages was the abolition of stamp duty reserve tax on UK-domiciled asset management funds. That may not sound like an attention grabber, but it was manna for Britain’s hedge-fund bosses, who by the Government’s estimate saw £145m drop off their companies’ collective annual tax bill.

Roy Keane and Martin O’Neill were on television pundit duty for Manchester United's Champions League match against Real Sociedad

Comment: Roy Keane's reunion with the Republic of Ireland will be bumpy, but unmissable

Get the popcorn out, this is going to be worth watching. The Republic of Ireland have, somehow, thought it wise to employ Roy Keane as the assistant to Martin O'Neill as the head coach of the national team.

Icap Boss Michael Spencer under fire after £55m Libor scandal fine

Icap boss Michael Spencer was today told to “raise his game” after the firm was hit by an embarrassing £55 million fine for its role in the Libor scandal.

Australian PM Tony Abbott has come under fire for only having one woman in his Cabinet

Australian PM Tony Abbott criticised for one-woman Cabinet

If Julia Gillard paved the way for future female leaders in Australia, there is no sign of that legacy in new Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Cabinet, which contains just one woman: Julie Bishop, the Foreign Minister-elect.

Soto del Real

Postcard from... Soto del Real

The News Matrix: Friday 16 August 2013

Dave Lee Travis faces 11 sex charges

Ukip faces renewed accusations of sexism as Stuart Wheeler claims women are not as competitive as men

And that man Godfrey Bloom protested that women were sometimes given preferential treatment in the workplace

Tony Abbott with his Liberal Party candidate, Fiona Scott

Vote for woman with sex appeal, says Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott

Liberal leader lives up to his reputation for sexism during poll campaign

Former treasurer to Spanish PM’s People's Party, Cristóbal Páez, admits slush fund pay

A former director of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party has admitted to a judge that he was paid out of a slush fund, fuelling opposition demands for a full parliamentary probe into the scandal that has rocked a government reeling from a persistent economic crisis.

A bumper to bumper queue of vehicles trying to enter Spain from Gibraltar

Gibraltar row with UK over Spain border fee prompts crisis talks

British Overseas Territory’s Chief Minister accuses Spanish government of behaving like North Korea

Spanish PM, Mariano Rajoy, declares himself ‘not guilty’ in finance scandal

The first day of August is popularly known in Spain as Operación Salida (Operation Exit). But those expecting the country’s embattled Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, to join the millions of Spaniards making their annual mass exodus from the towns and cities and quit – in a political sense – were left sorely disappointed.

Mariano Rajoy has made an unexpected confession that he was wrong to trust his former party financial chief

Mariano Rajoy slush fund allegations: Spain PM denounces former ally Luis Barcenas

Spain's prime minister has made an unexpected confession that he was wrong to trust his former party financial chief for so many years but denies the ex-treasurer's allegations that the party ran a slush fund.

David Cameron humiliated me, says Peter Cruddas - the man who bankrolled the Tory party

Ex-treasurer attacks PM after victory in 'cash-for-access' case

Margaret Thatcher Day idea won little support

Not a vote winner: Only one in eight would support 'Margaret Thatcher' bank holiday

Proposal was among raft of parliamentary Bills tabled by Tory backbenchers' group in 'Alternative Queen's Speech'

Mariano Rajoy, Spainish Prime Minister

Corrupt? I’m being blackmailed, says Spain’s embattled PM Mariano Rajoy in wake of slush fund allegations

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy rejected calls to quit on Monday after his party’s former treasurer said in court he was the author of documents leaked to the press last week, which alleged the premier was paid out of a slush fund.

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Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
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Raheem Sterling of Liverpool celebrates scoring the opening goal
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Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum
France's Front National and the fear of a ‘gay lobby’ around Marine Le Pen

Front National fear of ‘gay lobby’

Marine Le Pen appoints Sébastien Chenu as cultural adviser
'Enhanced interrogation techniques?' When language is distorted to hide state crimes

Robert Fisk on the CIA 'torture report'

Once again language is distorted in order to hide US state wrongdoing
Radio 1’s new chart host must placate the Swifties and Azaleans

Radio 1 to mediate between the Swifties and Azaleans

New chart host Clara Amfo must placate pop's fan armies
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

The head of Veterans Aid on how his charity is changing perceptions of ex-servicemen and women in need
Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

Its use is always wrong and, despite CIA justifications post 9/11, the information obtained from it is invariably tainted, argues Patrick Cockburn
Rebranding Christmas: More public bodies are refusing to give the festival its name for fear of causing offence

Rebranding Christmas

More public bodies are refusing to give the festival its name for fear of causing offence. They are missing the point, and we all need to grow up
A Greek island - yours for the price of a London flat

A sun-kissed island - yours for the price of a London flat

Cash-strapped Greeks are selling off their slices of paradise
Pogues could enjoy fairytale Christmas No 1 thanks to digital streaming

Pogues could enjoy fairytale Christmas No 1 thanks to digital streaming

New system means that evergreen songs could top the festive charts
Prince of Wales: Gruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence

Prince of Wales: Gruff Rhys

He is a musician of wondrous oddity. He is on a perpetual quest to seek the lost tribes of the Welsh diaspora. Just don't ask Gruff Rhys if he's a national treasure...