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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Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'