From retail mania and the Tube strike to oil prices and the Chinese economy: Here's what got us talking this week

Catherine Neilan
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Are you talking to me? (Source: Getty)

We all got invited to a very special birthday party, while someone else got an early birthday present. Meanwhile, the details of Boris Johnson's Iraq antics were leaked. Oh no, BoJo.

Here's what got us talking this week

1) Ground control to major Tim

The world mourned as we digested the news that David Bowie had died aged just 69. We consoled ourselves with listening to his huge contribution to music. And as one starman exited, another took his first spacewalk, making British history and potentially sparking a change in our love of science.

From one starman to another...

2) Run for the hills

That was at least the advice from RBS, who urged investors to "sell everything". It's easy to see why, given the state of oil prices, which this week dipped below $30 a barrel, and the ongoing issues with the Chinese stock market.

3) Retail mania

It was a busy week for retail results, with Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury's all beating expectations, making them feature among some of the many Christmas winners. And, although Home Retail Group did not overwhelm with its performance, it still came under the spotlight thanks to ongoing bid interest. But Sainsbury's bid could have a knock-on effect, not least for landlords.

4) Singing a different tune

We could all be doing just that if MPs decide to push for an English national anthem - and here's why they should do just that. There is one song that has emerged as a particular favourite.

5) Tube strikes rolling in

Londoners are facing a whole new set of strikes as the unions and transport bosses butt heads over pay and conditions. Three dates have been agreed so far, although there could be a whole lot more further down the line. But talks have resumed and will continue into next week, giving us all hope some agreement might be reached.

Leisurely reads

Birmingham is now more attractive, the report claims

Education systems must teach the ability to learn, not the ability to memorise (Source: Getty)

Charts of the week

Have you got what it takes to become a billionaire?

Great Reads from Elsewhere

There are plenty of stories about David Bowie and the impact he had on other people. This blog brings six of the best together.

The Last Word

It was an audacious, brazen burglary that was some three years in the planning."


Three men were sentenced for their involvement in the Hatton Garden heist this week.