Ocado shrugs off Waitrose threat as sales rise to £92m

The online grocer Ocado dismissed the growing threat from its partner Waitrose today as it reported a rise in sales growth over Christmas.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden at a meeting with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (left) and gun safety advocacy groups

Joe Biden raises pressure on Congress over gun laws

Opening high-level consultations on America’s gun laws in the wake of December’s shooting of 20 children in a Connecticut school, the Vice-President Joe Biden has served notice that Barack Obama was “determined to take action” and will sidestep Congress if necessary.

Asda recalls 'choking risk' dummy

Asda has recalled some of its dummies over a choking risk which emerged when one device came apart in a baby's mouth.

Tesco sees turnaround in its UK business

Tesco grew its core grocery sales significantly ahead of Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons in the run-up to Christmas, in the latest sign of a turnaround in its UK business.

Halfords will host driving tests to tackle waiting times

Learner drivers will be able to take their practical tests from branches of Halfords from next month, the Government has announced.

Newtown massacre: US races to stock up on weapons ahead of potential new federal ban

Rather than recoiling from the gun, Americans are emptying stores of ‘sporting rifles’ while online prices soar

A Rock River Arms AR-15 rifle. The weapon is similar in style to the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle that was used during a massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Firearm sales have surged recently as speculation of stricter gun laws and a re-instatement of the assault weapons ban following the mass shooting.

Post Newtown: Guns out of stock at Wal-Mart and magazine prices surge on ebay

With President Obama endorsing sweeping gun restrictions in the wake of the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, prices for handgun magazines are surging on eBay and semi-automatic rifles are sold out at many Wal-Mart Stores locations.

The News Matrix: Thursday 20 December 2012

War has so far cost taxpayer £17.4bn

US supermarket chain Walmart could face fines of billions of dollars if the allegations are true

US retail giant Wal-Mart 'bribed Mexicans to open shops'

Wal-Mart, the US retail giant, could face fines of billions of dollars, as allegations emerged its Mexican affiliate paid officials to speed up store openings.

In India the place that matters this week is Gujarat

There has been a lot of heat and tension in India’s parliament over past week as the government has won grudging and expensive approval for its foreign supermarkets investment policy and there have been noisy scenes over allegations that Wal-Mart has been corruptly lobbying for the cause.

Political storm over Wal-Mart's 'illegal bid' to influence India

Indian government accused of corruption after supermarket spends $25m lobbying in US
Asda, Tesco and Debenhams are just a few of the retailers using blokes with beards in TV ads

Hairy Christmas, everybody! Move over Santa – blokes with beards are all over our TVs this year

To a certain white-haired gent, Christmas has long been about one thing, and one thing only: face fuzz, and plenty of it. And now it seems Britain's retailers are catching up.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

India's plan to allow foreign retailers wins parliament backing

The Indian government won an important symbolic victory Friday, securing Parliament's backing for its decision to allow in foreign supermarkets such as Wal-Mart and Britain's Tesco.

Bangladesh factory lost safety licence before fire killed 112

The fire on 24 November that swept through the factory took 13 hours to control

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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
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'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick