The Guardian

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Vince Cable: chancellor ‘irresponsible’ for selling off RBS

Lib Dem leader says Philip Hammond should wait for share price to recover before offloading government stake in bank<p>Vince Cable has accused the chancellor of being “irresponsible” over his decision to sell off two-thirds of its remaining stake in bailed-out lender RBS at a significant loss.<p>The …

Brexit

Sums don't add up on budget's maths pledge, says Labour

Budget scorecard allocates £80m of spending in the next two years, short of £250m announced by Philip Hammond<p>Philip Hammond has failed to show how the sums add up on his flagship budget announcement of around £250m for maths and computer teaching, according to Labour.<p>Angela Rayner, the shadow …

Education

Sales of dry sherry soar as hipster generation drives revival

Popularity of premium varieties arrests long-term decline thanks to cocktails and tapas restaurants, says Majestic Wine<p>Sales of dry sherries have soared by a quarter, popularised by the growing number of tapas restaurants and sherry bars, according to Majestic Wine.<p>The revival in demand for drier, …

Markets

Black Friday fever: high street retailers pin hopes on discount splurge

Promotional race as shops try to boost flagging sales sees first entry by Next<p>Shoppers are expected to go on a £2.5bn spending spree in the next 24 hours as Black Friday discount fever sweeps UK high streets. Friday promises to be a nail biting one for retailers who see the US inspired discount day …

Black Friday

Ken Clarke: Cameron had deal with Murdoch for 2010 election

The deal involved appointing Andy Coulson, former News of the World editor, to a position inside No 10, the MP claims<p>David Cameron may have done “some sort of a deal” with Rupert Murdoch to win the Sun’s support for the Conservatives in the 2010 general election, Ken Clarke, the former justice …

Referendums

Just Eat poised to enter FTSE 100 following surge in value

Food ordering website in line for index promotion after upcoming quarterly review with market value now greater than M&S, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons<p>Just Eat is on course to join the blue-chip FTSE 100 index, with a stock market value greater than Marks & Spencer.<p>The takeaway ordering website has …

Sainsbury'S

Age of austerity isn't over yet, says IFS budget analysis

Mainly grim news from thinktank, painting a picture of doom and gloom including predictions of a £35bn deficit in 2019-20<p>Seven years after George Osborne ushered in a tough new age of spending cuts and deficit reduction, the Institute for Fiscal Studies had a grim message for the long-suffering …

Economics

Welsh first minister to face investigation into Labour party bullying

Labour’s Carwyn Jones referred himself to independent assessment over issues highlighted after Carl Sargeant death<p>The Labour Welsh first minister is to face an investigation over claims of bullying within his office that were highlighted following the sacking and death of the assembly member Carl …

Referendums

Ryanair crew told to sell more perfume and scratchcards or face action

Recruitment firms warn staff not selling enough merchandise on flights to up their game or risk ‘disciplinary proceedings’<p>Ryanair cabin crew have been told they could face “disciplinary proceedings” and have their working hours forcibly changed unless they sell more perfume and scratchcards.<p>The …

Ryanair

Where have all our insects and birds gone?

Rosemary Mason notices a decline in insects in south Wales; Kate Phillips says there is a major shift in insect and bird life in Buckinghamshire; and Eyke Shannon questions the role played by the Forestry Commission and the RSPB in Suffolk<p>With regard to David Marjot’s letter about lost insects in …

Nature

Harrods begins £200m redesign to appeal to wealthy Asian shoppers

Three-year refurbishment will help tailor store to shoppers from China and south-east Asia<p>Harrods has begun the biggest redevelopment in the department store’s 170-year history to increase its appeal to wealthy overseas shoppers flocking to Britain to exploit the weak pound.<p>The boss of Harrods, …

Audemars Piguet

Bank of England pays men more than women, says report

Findings highlight gender pay gap but Bank governor Mark Carney says it only exists because more men work there<p>Male employees at the Bank of England are paid almost a quarter more than their female colleagues, according to its first gender pay gap report.<p>The gap between what male and female Bank …

Gender

Publication of Northern Ireland party donors delayed until new year

Head of Electoral Commission says continued secrecy undermines trust and confidence in Northern Irish democracy<p>The publication of Northern Irish political donors’ identities has been postponed to the new year because of a delay by the government to put necessary legislation before parliament.<p>The …

Ireland

V&A futuristic show explores power clothes, space factories – and a slo-mo towel chum

Museum plans 2018 ‘power of design’ exhibition exploring how groundbreaking technologies could change the world<p>New technology could allow us to clean up devastating damage to the environment, charge a phone with our clothes and create vast factories in space. But it appears to have its limits: the …

Chelsea Manning

Number crushing: economists give Hammond's budget the big thumbs down

In a dark room in central London, the Institute of Fiscal Studies pours over the figures behind Wednesday’s budget and finds little actually there<p>Call it the revenge of the geeks. On every other day of the year, politicians feel free to play fast and loose with the figures. Anything to massage them …

Economy

The Star review – a nativity film to put the kids to sleep

This pious digimation of the Christmas story contains nothing to frighten the donkeys with its rote wisecracks and slavish devotion to the Pixar formula<p>Some films are fated to be no more than the sum of their production companies. This seasonal digimation is almost exactly what you might imagine …

Film (UK)

Pancho Segura obituary

Tennis player noted for his double-handed strokes and for coaching the champion Jimmy Connors<p>The Ecuadorean tennis player Pancho Segura, who has died aged 96, was possibly best known as the coach of Jimmy Connors. However, in his own right he was one of the most remarkable players of his generation.<p>…

No trolling, no threats, no swearing: the Manhattan mothers’ very civil war

The Mommas Facebook group was shut down after endless online fights, but their impeccable debating standards are a lesson to us all<p>Something exciting happened in the world of online mothers’ forums this week, and it wasn’t a list of 10 new ways to spy on your nanny. In Britain there is Mumsnet; in …

Gayle King

Floods in north-west England prompt criticism over missing defences

Cumbria MP says government is dragging its feet, after torrential rain causes flooding in area hit by Storm Desmond in 2015<p>Torrential rain has forced dozens of families from their homes and caused disruption across the north-west of England, prompting a local MP to accuse the government of dragging …

Weather

Bad sex award judges admit 'this year is quite good'

Judges nominate overheated passages from Wilbur Smith and Laurent Binet among others, but concede that 2017’s sex scenes have been rather well done<p>Bad sex award 2017: the contenders in quotes<p>Pulsing waves, fumbling fingers, tortured tongues and firework metaphors are as abundant as ever on the …

Literature

Data breach hits Department of Social Services credit card system

Exclusive: Data includes employees’ names, user names, work phone numbers, work emails and system passwords<p>The Department of Social Services has written to 8,500 current and former employees warning them their personal data held by a contractor has been breached.<p>In letters sent in early November …

Security

Could octopus DNA reveal the secrets of west Antarctica’s ice sheet collapse?

Understanding what happened to the ice sheet will be key to knowing what the future holds for global sea levels<p>There are a lot of scientific eyes on west Antarctica right now, for some pretty obvious reasons.<p>The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) holds a lot of water – enough to push up sea levels …

Climate Change

Bilbao on the prairie: why does tiny Saskatoon need an $85m art gallery?

Saskatoon’s awe-inspiring new Remai gallery has vast ambitions. But does the overspend and hype about indigenous art justify all the bluster?<p>‘This isn’t just a gallery, it’s an act of making a city,” says Bruce Kuwabara, founding partner of KPMB Architects, at the opening of the Remai Modern, a …

Indigenous Peoples

Take the pain out of buying red wine for the Christmas season

You won’t go far wrong if you stick to southern French reds for the festive table<p>The fact that most wine merchants offer a subscription scheme suggests a fair few people don’t want to think too hard about wine and just receive regular cases of the style they like. I suspect this applies even more …

Sainsbury'S

We needed a housing revolution. The chancellor gave us a Band-Aid

Nothing in Philip Hammond’s budget indicated that he has any idea of the scale or urgency of the challenges facing Britain<p>When the chancellor stood up on Wednesday to deliver his budget, it was against a tough economic backdrop. It’s been a decade of stagnating wages, rising inflation driving up …

Housing

Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards call for ban on Franco foundation

Petition filed in parliament says foundations glorifying Hitler or Mussolini would be unthinkable in Germany or Italy<p>More than 200,000 Spaniards have signed a petition filed in parliament on Thursday asking the government to ban the National Francisco Franco Foundation (FNFF), which glorifies …

Italy

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel trade end-of-term F1 barbs in Abu Dhabi

• ‘I passed you,’ Hamilton reminds Vettel after backhanded praise for Mercedes • ‘Sebastian won the last race and I don’t want to give him this one,’ Briton adds<p>With Lewis Hamilton having already secured the Formula One world championship, the Briton could afford to be relaxed in the buildup to the …

Auto Racing

Bad sex award 2017 shortlist: the contenders in quotes

Literary theory, avalanches and a frosty encounter on a beach – it’s time to get up close and personal with the challengers for the Literary Review’s 2017 Bad sex in fiction prize<p><b>The Seventh Function of Language</b> <b>by Laurent Binet</b><p>He puts his hands on Bianca’s shoulders and slips off her low-cut top. …

Books

Google clamps down on ticket resale sites

Search giant unveils restrictions against secondary ticketing sites such as Viagogo and StubHub including new controls on paid search<p>Google will impose tough new restrictions on ticket resale companies to prevent music and theatre fans needlessly paying above face value on websites such as Viagogo …

Ed Sheeran

Campaigner: I received rape and death threats after gender-neutral speech

Mental health campaigner Natasha Devon describes online abuse she received after calling for gender-neutral language in schools<p>Leading mental health campaigner Natasha Devon says she has been sent rape and death threats after a speech to head teachers in which she advocated the use of …

Gender