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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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering