News

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.

Unemployed told to leave Ireland in desperate move to slash welfare costs

Ireland is asking its citizens to leave the country if they can't find a job in a desperate bid to slash welfare costs.

British economy to surpass pre-recession peak in 2014, says BCC

UK economy set to grow at its fastest pace in seven years at 2.7% in 2014

Volunteers sort through items of food at a Rochdale Foodbank

Millions of families living in poverty despite being in employment says new study

More families than ever before are classified as poor despite adults having a job

The rate of unemployment among blacks is 12.5 per cent – more than twice as high as the 6.2 per cent among whites

Outlook: Nelson Mandela’s legacy is undeniable – but his scandal-riven successors are just not up to the job of preserving it

The South Africa of today  is, at best, underperforming its economic potential

Economist’s View: Like abolishing national insurance for the young, it’s all too little too late

If Britain’s economic plan is “working” why are British people worse off than they were when the Coalition took office? Living standards continue to fall in the slowest recovery in 100 years and growth is half what the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast in 2010.

Employment: Young targeted in crackdown on ‘jobless culture’

Jobless 18- to 21-year-olds without a basic standard of English or mathematics will be denied benefits unless they return to classes to improve their skills.

Andy McSmith's Diary: Bad news - Capita’s visa task bombs. Good news - they’re paid by results

More than a year has passed since the UK Border Agency awarded a four-year, £30m contract to a private firm, Capita, to track down immigrants who have overstayed their visas in the UK. Hiring a private firm for a task that is normally the responsibility of the state did not escape criticism. “We are appalled the Government has offered a contract of this size to a private company,” Ruth Grove-White, policy director at the Migrants Rights Network, told The Independent.

Fresh blow for François Hollande as French unemployment hits 16-year high

French president François Hollande’s woes deepened today as unemployment hit its highest level for more than 16 years.

Blockbuster to axe more than 400 jobs

Blockbuster has confirmed that 62 more stores are to close with the loss of another 427 jobs.

Hewlett-Packard plans to axe 1,124 jobs in UK

Computer giant Hewlett-Packard is set to cut more than 1,000 jobs in the UK as part of a global downsizing, the company announced today.

Irish unemployment falls to lowest level since 2009

The number of people signing on last month fell to just over 390,000.

Job losses feared as Manchester student union deficit reaches half a million pounds

Manchester University students’ union has been forced to make drastic cut-backs after it was revealed that they have built up a deficit of over half a million pounds.

Angela Merkel, centre, made concessions on pensions and the labour market but not on eurozone policy

Two months after election win in Germany, Angela Merkel forms coalition

Agreement with arch-rivals means introduction of minimum wage but higher taxes are ruled out

Mark Carney defends 'dead on arrival' forward guidance policy

The Governor denied that forward guidance has caused confusion among businesses

National sex survey: Distractions of modern life mean people have less sex

Worries about the recession and all-hours access to social media have had noticeable impact on British libidos, researchers say

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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
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones