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

James Moore: Pull out of the EU? We’d just be trading one set of problems for another

Outlook: The cost of payday loans today means that they are a thoroughly bad thing for most people

Default fears grow as talks on US debt ceiling go to wire

The cost of insuring against a catastrophic US default jumped to its  highest level in more than two years today after talks to prevent a breach of the nation’s $16.7 trillion (£10.5 trillion) debt ceiling faltered.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde

US budget battle: IMF's Christine Lagarde warns America's lawmakers they risk pushing world into recession

Stark warning from IMF chief comes as search for deal to extend debt ceiling shifts to Senate

Pakistani Taliban commander Latif Mehsud was captured last weekend

US capture of Taliban leader 'violates Afghan sovereignty'

Talks to decide the future of US involvement in Afghanistan continued last night, amid tensions over a "military operation" in which American forces "forcibly removed" a senior Taliban commander from an Afghan government convoy.

Statue of Liberty and Grand Canyon to reopen despite US government shutdown

Tourist attractions in the US including the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty, and Mount Rushmore will soon re-open, despite the continued shutdown of the country's government.

Supporters of the Affordable Healthcare Act hold posters critical of the Tea Party

Obama considers Republican deal to extend borrowing power and resolve shutdown

Some federal services to reopen as moderates appear to gain upper hand over Tea Party

John Boehner asked Republicans to follow him in allowing a short-term increase in the debt ceiling

No deal: Republicans and White House fail to reach agreement on short-term debt-ceiling extension

Failure of House speaker John Boehner's proposal to extend America’s borrowing means government shutdown continues

Washington shutdown hits thousands of staff at British contractors

Around 2,000 employees of three of Britain's biggest companies have been prevented from working as a result of the US Government shutdown.

Corruption at Detroit's City Hall: America's dirtiest mayor jailed for 28 years

Kwame Kilpatrick oversaw the downfall of the now-bankrupt city that was once the beating heart of US car production

Christie came close to entering the ring in 2012

'I can walk and chew bubble-gum at the same time': Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, drops big hint that he will run for US presidency

His remarks, made during a debate with his Democrat challenger for the governorship, were the clearest signal yet that he will seek the Republican Presidential nomination in 2016

President Obama nominates current vice chair Janet Yellen as new head of Federal Reserve

If she replaces Ben Bernanke, Ms Yellen would be the first woman to lead the American central bank

US shutdown: Markets drift on IMF warning over global economy

Global stock markets drifted Wednesday as news the Federal Reserve's vice chair will be nominated to head the US central bank gave only a slight lift to investor sentiment darkened by an IMF warning on the global economy.

ASEAN summit: John Kerry presses China and neighbours on maritime issues at Brunei summit

US Secretary of State John Kerry is in Brunei for meetings with top officials from China and its smaller Southeast Asian neighbours, in which he will urge all countries to cool tensions over territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Barack Obama and John McCain make one of their final campaign appearances

Barack Obama and the Republican Party are engaged in an existential battle

No winner can come out of this stalemate with their head held high

Nick Clegg delivers his speech in east London

Donald Macintyre's Sketch: We heard Nick Clegg’s apocalyptic rhetoric on Europe loud and clear

Nick Clegg’s first words were “I hope you can all hear me”; puzzlingly, since he was speaking through a microphone and there were only a couple of dozen of us in the audience.

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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
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James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
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Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
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peopleLiam Williams posted photo of himself dressed as Wilfried Bony
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Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
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The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
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The monkey made several attempts to revive his friend before he regained consciousness
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Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
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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
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick