News Barack Obama told a crowd at a Costco store the country was moving on

Jobs and wages will be the main battleground of November’s mid-term elections

Matthew Giarmo of Alexandria, Virginia, holds up a sign seeking a job on a street corner in Washington, DC

Obama says Republicans are using 'extortion' to end US government shutdown and raise debt ceiling

Speaker of the House, John Boehner, was asked to put a no strings attached deal on the table

Fresh turmoil in The Maldives as election results are annulled

Supreme Court says poll in which Mohamed Nasheed won highest number of votes suffered irregularities

If America is exceptional among nations, it has to prove it – constantly

There was quite the flap here last month when Vladimir Putin dared suggest in an article in The New York Times that America’s long-held credo that it is “exceptional” among nations is wrong and even dangerous. This country’s sense of superiority was being challenged. But how can Uncle Sam hold his head up in the current mess?

Girl Reading (Malala Yousafazi) by Jonathan Yeo is to go on show at the National Portrait Gallery

Malala must not fall victim to our expectations

As Barack Obama found out, receiving a Nobel Peace Prize can come with a set of unintended and unpleasant consequences

Republican house speaker, John Boehner, has sought put the blame on President Barack Obama

No end in sight to US shutdown as John Boehner blames President Barack Obama for stand-off

Almost a week into America’s government shutdown, positions seemed only to harden on Sunday as the Republican house speaker, John Boehner, refused to rule out the stand-off over the federal budget spilling over into negotiations on the debt ceiling, again raising the spectre of America defaulting on its debt.

Social Democrat (SPD) leader Sigmar Gabriel, right, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Minimum wage may be forced on Angela Merkel to build 'grand coalition'

German leader’s potential coalition partners seek concessions before forming a government

Postcard from... Berlin

Mutti (or “Mummy”) knows best, as Germany’s recent general election proved beyond doubt. It handed Angela Merkel a huge victory, yet one which was not quite big enough for her to secure an absolute majority for her ruling conservatives.

John Boehner: The Republican House Speaker is expected to seek a deal on the debt ceiling

'This isn't some damn game': Tempers fray in US enters fifth day of government shutdown

Republicans and Democrats continue to blame each other as shutdown crisis worsens

Sterling is sliding on worries over US stand-off

Sterling slipped against the euro today as traders’ fears rose that the US political budget stand-off could take the steam out of the British economy's recovery.

Ukip was runner-up in three out of this week's four by-elections

Ukip finishes runner-up in three by-elections as Labour makes shock gain

Labour scored a shock gain in the latest council by-elections. Candidate Fiona Brown took her party from nowhere to victory at Chapel St Leonards in Lincolnshire's East Lindsey District.

Q&A: Resolving the US shutdown

Resolving the shutdown is important, for the longer it drags on, the greater the risk to the US economy, which remains weak. A drawn-out squabble over a stopgap budget would hit consumer spending, for example, as the furloughed federal workers tighten their belts. But in the short term, attention is turning to the debt ceiling because the federal government will hit its Congressionally mandated borrowing limit no later than 17 October.

Obama spoke to construction workers in Maryland about the crisis

US shutdown: Barack Obama cancels Asia tour as political deadlock continues

President refuses to give in to Republican demands over heath-care reform, with decision to skip economic summits an indication that no resolution is likely to come soon

Government union workers demonstrate on the side of Constitution Avenue

US shutdown and looming debt crisis talks between President Obama and Congressional leaders fail to break the policy deadlock

Two issues become entangled as intelligence officials warned the situation 'seriously damages' their ability to protect the country

Silvio Berlusconi in feverish talks with senators in Italy’s Parliament at the confidence vote

Silvio Berlusconi pulls plug on attempt to defeat coalition as his own MPs fail to back him

Former premier performs U-turn by declaring confidence in Letta government in one of the worst humiliations of his 20-year political career

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy