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The US Federal Reserve said it would continue to reduce its bond buying stimulus program by $10 billion a month and will keep interest rates extraordinarily low for as long as required.

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: George Osborne’s lame pun takes Balls-baiting to a new level

Revelling in the latest growth figures, George Osborne lifted Balls-baiting to a new plane. He was asked an unusually long list of super-friendly questions by euphoric Tory backbenchers. Ones that in the secret dreams of the MPs involved, invite the answer: “Yes. My honourable friend has absolutely hit the nail on the head with that spiffing question correctly mentioning our long-term economic plan, allowing me to lay into the Opposition, and qualifying him for early promotion.”

Workers at mail-order company La Redoute protest in Lille against plans to sack 1,200 workers

Is life easy in the land of the 35-hour week, generous holidays and long lunches? ‘Non’, say burnt-out French

3.2 million people are working so hard that they risked mental or physical breakdown, study finds

The Business Matrix: Tuesday 28 January 2014

Strikes possible at Ford factories

Big numbers of young adults move to London from other cities and never return home

UK regions hit by brain drain: Exodus of talent to London adds to fears that recovery is geographically skewed

For Britain to prosper, cities must prosper. They are engines of growth

According to research, there is a strong link between financial issues and low mental well-being in people over 50

Debt-ridden over-50s ‘more likely to suffer mental-health problems’

High levels of personal debt in Britain could be creating a health time bomb, according to research showing a strong link between financial problems and low mental well-being in older people.

Behind good news headlines on recovery and jobs we are no better off than at the start of this slump

Recession will have lasted three years longer than any other in the past 100 years

Catholics are more likely to vote Labour while Church of England worshippers vote Conservative, claims new research

Catholics are more likely to vote Labour while Church of England worshippers most consistently back the Conservatives, according to new research.

Ed Balls will tell the Fabian society that Labour 'will look at new ways of delivering public services'

'Labour will bring back 50p income tax for top earners' says Ed Balls

Shadow Chancellor would shift the burden of the deficit to the rich, raising £10bn in three years

Anthony Hilton: Back-tracking over Unemployment rate makes a mockery of forward guidance

The recession of 2008 was the first internet recession.

Davos 2014: Mark Carney pours cold water on odds of imminent rise in interest rates

The Bank of England’s flagship policy of forward guidance on interest rates will “evolve” next month, Mark Carney said yesterday, as he sought again to dampen expectations of an imminent rate rise.

The regular Army is being cut from 102,000 to 82,000 by 2020

Army cuts: Hundreds more soldiers to lose jobs

Gurkha regiment to be heavily hit in latest cuts

Hamish McRae: Good job figures and bad growth or good growth and poor jobs - a transatlantic tale of two recoveries

Economic View: In the past, there may have been more people working in the informal economy

The Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney may soon be deciding whether decide to increase interest rates if unemployment drops further

Unemployment: Fall in jobless total is second biggest on record, renewing speculation about interest rate rise

Drop takes rate within 0.1% of threshold at which Bank of England could end interest rate freeze - but it may still "move the goalposts"

Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney may decide to increase interest rates if unemployment continues to drop

Bank of England seeks to ease rate hike fears as the pound soars

City traders sent the pound soaring following a shock fall in unemployment and the first explicit signal from the Bank of England on how it would handle a hike in interest rates.

Labour promises extra £120 for workers who lose long-term jobs

Extra £20 a week in benefit for six weeks would apply if they had been in work for four or five years

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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
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Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
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Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
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Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
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Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
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Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
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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'