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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Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker