News An aerial picture of the Grand Canyon in Arizona from around 30,000 feet (10,000m)

It was thought that the global landmark was perhaps 70million years old

Tea Party holds US – and the world – to ransom

Despite backing a two-stage debt deal last night, a rump of far-right Republicans is blocking progress on the budget deficit

Embassy kept in the dark as guns smuggled into Mexico

More than 2,000 weapons were allowed to 'walk' from Texas and Arizona gun shops during the operation

Simon Bond: Cartoonist and illustrator best known for his book ‘101 Uses of a Dead Cat’

Though he had worked as a stand-up comedian, as a dealer in antiquarian prints and paintings, and as a writer and publisher, Simon Bond was best known as a cartoonist and illustrator, notably creating the international bestseller, 101 Uses of a Dead Cat.

Temperatures reach 40C in American heatwave

You could be forgiven for thinking it's summer.

Nerveless Laugher springs forth as world-class talent

Double world junior champion Jack Laugher hopes he can one day enjoy his time in the spotlight currently occupied by Tom Daley after an eighth-placed finish in the 3 metre springboard final on his World Championships debut yesterday that belied his 16 years.

Casey admits health concern as Lawrie hits rock bottom

The expensively equipped European Tour physiotherapy truck looking after players at The Open offers massages for aching backs but could do nothing to help the bruised egos that have trudged off Royal St George's in the past three days.

Forget the Tea Party – here comes the Tequila Party

Hispanics are the fastest growing minority in the US – and a new group wants to get them in the voting spirit

Fan saved from home run plunge

A baseball fan in Arizona narrowly escaped a 20ft plunge when he tried to catch a ball heading into the stands, less than a week after a father in Texas died in a similar accident.

Phoenix battered by dust storm

A massive dust storm descended on the Phoenix area in Arizona, drastically reducing visibility and delaying flights as strong winds uprooted trees and left thousands of residents without power.

Fifty mile wide dust storm engulfs Phoenix

A massive dust storm has descended on the Phoenix area, drastically reducing visibility and delaying flights as strong winds toppled trees and caused power cuts for thousands of residents in the valley.

Active Travel: Wild at heart in Ethiopia

A trek into the soaring Simien mountains reveals rare sights and sounds for Kate Eshelby

Fear and loving: The two-edged charm of the snake

The accidental death of a cobra-lover has highlighted the strange passion some feel for serpents. Michael Bywater tries to explain

History in the making at Reading Festival

It’s a big year for the Reading and Leeds Festivals. Not only is it 50 years this summer since Harold Pendleton, founder of the Marquee Club in London, launched the events’ precursor, the National Jazz Festival, but it’s also the 40th anniversary of the Reading site’s initiation. To celebrate four decades of revelry at Richfield Avenue we’ve taken a look back at some of the defining moments of this most beloved of festivals.

Inside the secret world of the geeks with the power to unleash anarchy

Jerome Taylor tracked down one of Britain's most feared hackers to find out what motivates this new criminal underworld

LulzSec claims to have hacked Arizona police

Lulz Security, the notorious group of online activists, has released "sensitive" data it claims to have taken from a US police force, including personal emails, officers' names, phone numbers, addresses and passwords.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
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Arts and Entertainment
James Hewitt has firmly denied being Harry’s father
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
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The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
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travel
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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies looks set to be a dramatic conclusion to Peter Jackson's trilogy
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Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
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Day In a Page

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
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
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
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

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, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
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?