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

World’s biggest technology companies call on President Obama to reform NSA’s surveillance operations

CEOs express concern that wide-ranging activities have undermined the trust of their users

The sad and puzzling story of Abbas Khan, the British doctor found dead in Syrian jail

What prompted the death of a man whose life was more valuable to Assad than any other foreigner’s in Syria?

President Obama family Christmas photo is upstaged by elf

Mr Obama was taking part in the Christmas in Washington benefit concert

John Kerry said that to suggest that the government had 'abandoned [Mr Levinson] or anybody has abandoned him is simply incorrect... and not helpful'

US has not abandoned ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson, says John Kerry

US government is pursuing a “number of different channels” as it seeks to determine whether or not he is alive

Ursula von der Leyen comes from a Christian Democrat political dynasty

Ursula von der Leyen: Is this the next woman to become Chancellor of Germany?

Angela Merkel’s third term in office ends in 2017, and a leading contender to succeed her is the new Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen

Borgen: TV review, BBC4

Great Dane bows out in a refreshingly unsentimental and brisk fashion

Obama, Cameron and Thorning-Schmidt cosy up for the selfie at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service

David Cameron pleads with Danish Prime Minister not to delete their Mandela selfie

Mr Cameron suggested the picture could be sold to raise money for charity instead, reports say

Head turning: Mary Barra, the world’s first woman to lead a major car company

At last, the face of power is female

First, General Motors, next, the Federal Reserve. The glass ceiling in the US is not broken, but some big cracks are beginning to appear

Social Democrats count votes in Berlin yesterday

Germany set for grand coalition as left-of-centre Social Democrats vote in favour of joining ruling alliance

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling conservatives were on course to form a grand coalition government.

German Social Democrats back coalition deal with Angela Merkel

The majority of the centre-left party's members voted to join the Chancellor in government.

Desmond Tutu has said he will not attend Nelson Mandela's funeral.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu confirms he will not attend Nelson Mandela's funeral

The former archbishop's claims he was not told he was welcome, but the South African presidency disagrees

South Africa's deaf community accused the sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial of being 'fake'

Fake signer who stood next to Obama at Mandela ceremony 'was once charged with murder'

Thamsanqa Jantjie, who described himself as a schizophrenic, is reported to have faced a string of criminal charges since 1994

An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man prays at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City during a snowstorm on 13 December 2013

Rare snowstorm leaves Jerusalem in lockdown

A rare snowstorm has blanketed Jerusalem, forcing a lockdown with police blocking access to and from the city.

In Pretoria, South Africa, people queue to catch a bus to see the remains of Nelson Mandela at the Union Buildings

The death of Nelson Mandela has exposed the failings of his successors

John Carlin, author of ‘Invictus’, reflects on a momentous week that has shown South Africa at its best - but also, all too often, at its worst

A selfie? On Cameron and Obama's part, this memorial snap was just plain shabby

Self-indulgence is typical of today's youth, but shouldn't be for our world leaders

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect