Voices President Obama urged members of Congress to make 2014 a 'year of action' in his State of the Union address

Institutional flaws have held the President back

Government 'not gung-ho' on Syria says William Hague

Syria's use of chemical weapons is "an evil we must stand up to one way or another", William Hague said, but insisted the Government was not "gung-ho" about military action.

Egyptian former militants try to broker peace between military and Muslim Brotherhood

Two Egyptian former militant groups are offering an initiative to halt the country's political violence, in which supporters of the ousted Islamist president will stop street protests if the military-backed government stops its crackdown on them.

The IPPR wants to force the young to vote. It's a push in the right direction

Libertarians might run a mile, but radical steps are needed

Voting should be made compulsory for young people casting their ballots for the first time, a leading think-tank says

Voting should be compulsory for young people at least once, says think tank

Compelling young  people to participate would forge lifetime habits, IPPR suggests

Zimbabwe gets a bank holiday as Robert Mugabe is sworn in for seventh term

Mr Mugabe will be sworn in for a seventh term, after serving 33 years as head of state

William Hague called the situation in Egypt “very bleak”

William Hague says turmoil in the Middle East could ‘last decades’

The Foreign Secretary also calls the situation in Egypt “very bleak”, but says Britain will support democracy in the country

Syria's shadow now looms over Egypt – and the West is allowing it to lengthen

As rivers of blood flowed in Egypt this week, the frightening crisis in a wounded nation turned even more critical. With each bullet the prospects for peaceful and political resolution to increasingly deep divisions over faith and freedom receded that bit further.

Mugabe, centre left, with his wife Grace; he made the comments at the Heroes' Day rally in Harare

Robert Mugabe tells opponents who dispute Zimbabwe election results to 'go hang... commit suicide'

President dismisses Movement for Democratic Change as Western stooges

Paperback review: Silent House, By Orhan Pamuk (Trs Robert Finn)

Style and substance from a good listener

David Cameron entertains Bahrain’s dictator King Hamad al-Khalif

On his first full day back from holiday, David Cameron held talks in Downing Street with King Hamad al-Khalifa of Bahrain.

US senator John McCain calls for talks with former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi

John McCain, the US senator, has urged Egypt’s military-backed government to release detained members of the Muslim Brotherhood before starting negotiations.

Votes counted in Harare last week appear to show a Mugabe victory

South African President Jacob Zuma congratulates Robert Mugabe on his landslide victory in Zimbabwe elections

But win provokes criticism from the UK and US, as Australia's Foreign Minister calls for election re-run

President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party has won 142 of the 210 parliamentary seats

Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe election victory was a 'masterclass in electoral fraud'

Opponents claim  Zanu-PF conned its way to power – rather than taking it by force

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe (left) cast his vote

Zimbabwe election results: Opposition leaders claim vote tainted by 'monumental rigging' as Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF claims victory

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvanirgai says his party considers the vote 'null and void' as election monitors warn that around one million people were denied their vote

Harry Byrd, Jr: US senator who fought against desegregation

Harry Byrd Jr, who died on 30 July at the age of 98, was a Democrat-turned-independent who began his career as a staunch segregationist and preached fiscal restraint in Washington long before it became fashionable. Byrd served 17 years in the US Senate, replacing his powerful father, Harry Flood Byrd, a senator from 1933 until ill health forced him to retire in 1965.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee