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

Mother Departs, By Tadeusz Rózewicz, trans. Barbara Bogoczek

Every mother's son – and daughter – will appreciate this powerful chorus of family memories

William Hague urges EU 'red card' system for nation states to block unwelcome laws from Brussels

William Hague today called for individual nation states to be given powers to block unwelcome laws from Brussels.

Fifa are now at the 'forefront of governance standards' according to Sepp Blatter

President claims football's world governing body has come through a tough spell

Sibling rivalry: The public enemy (left) confronts his brother

The new version of Ibsen's Public Enemy is a drama where democracy doesn't win any votes

Plus: Propaganda's crowning moments at the British Library and the Chapman brothers first exhibition in China should go down well with local audiences

IoS letters, emails & online postings (19 May 2013)

I am a hospital doctor by trade but have just finished four years on secondment to the Civil Service ("Mandarins to become 'chief executives'", 12 May).

Why is it that Europe stigmatises modern Hungary?

There have been eruptions of racial hatred in France and the Netherlands without the same questioning of their fundamental democracy, says Hungary's Deputy Prime Minister

Nawaz Sharif has won Pakistan's election, but a patchwork of power is emerging at the regional level

No political party enjoys anything close to consistent support across the four provinces

Satyajit Das: Alchemists at the courts of rulers foster illusion of perpetual growth

Midweek View: It is not clear how, if at all, printing money or financial games can create real ongoing growth and wealth
Desmond Tutu has said he will no longer vote for the ruling African National Congress

Desmond Tutu’s editorial denounces the ANC

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, lifelong friend of former South African president Nelson Mandela and the man regarded by many as the nation’s voice of conscience, has said he will no longer vote for the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iran's coming elections will test Khamenei's regime

Provoking political dispute in the run up to elections has been declared treasonous

Memebers of the rebellious Free Syrian Army, who have been fighting in the country's civil war for over two years

After Israel's air strikes, how can we end the civil war in Syria?

We probably can't, says Thomas Friedman. Not easily, anyway:

Italian politician accused of ‘shameful racism’

A senior politician has hit out at racist remarks aimed at the country’s first black minister by a member of the anti-immigrant Northern League party.

Editorial: Electioneering is not free speech

Even the most ardent critics of the European Court of Human Rights must acknowledge that its most recent verdict deserves a round of applause.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson among Conservatives calling for 'Thatcherite zeal' against trade unions

One Tory wants to curb 'abusive militant minority,' while union bosses condemn 'the rhetoric of the dictator'

Margaret Thatcher funeral a proper honour, says Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson said today he was more sympathetic to Baroness Thatcher now than when he was young and defended the cost of her funeral.

Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
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Russell Brand has written a book of political analysis called Revolution
peopleFilm star says he is 'not interested in making money anymore'
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newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
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people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
booksChristmas comes early for wizard fans
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news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

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Arts and Entertainment
filmsOculus Rift offers breathtakingly realistic simulation of zero gravity
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Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker