News Florida’s incumbent governor, Rick Scott, won in 2010 by a narrow margin

Politicians are used to courting a particular section of society come election time, but in a first for America, it may be the marijuana vote that decides the Florida governor’s race.

US fiscal plan will double federal deficit

The US President George Bush has unveiled a fiscal plan that will see the US federal budget deficit double this year, with larger-than-planned deficits stretching well into his successor's term of office. US government borrowing this year and next will approach the previous all-time record deficit, of $413bn (£209bn) in 2004, Mr Bush warned.

PM sets out vision for life after Bush

Gordon Brown is preparing the world for "life after Bush" by seeking an outline agreement this year on major reforms to international bodies and eventual moves to dismantle nuclear weapons.

Intelligence chief condemns 'waterboarding' as torture

The head of the US intelligence community has come closer than any other official in the Bush administration to comdemning the interrogation technique of "waterboarding" as torture, stoking a legal row over its use by the CIA.

Last Night's TV: Too much time beating about the Bush

The Trillion Dollar Revolutionary: This World, BBC2; Exodus, Channel 4

Baghdad blasts mock US claims of Iraqi progress

Following death of Zarqawi and visit by Bush, leaders fail to bring end to cycle of violence

Robinson wary of threat from bulked-up Australia

The England coach Andy Robinson believes his team are not expecting another one-sided forward battle when they take on Australia in two Tests this month.

Philip Hensher: This picture is a work of art

The artist Alison Jackson has made a considerable name for herself with photographic tableaux of celebrities and public figures in undignified and private, but altogether credible, positions. Lady Thatcher and Lord Archer sit at a table, behind bars; Prince William tries on the crown; Cherie Blair grips her husband's bum, unseen by a phalanx of photographers; Sven-Goran Eriksson mutters to Wayne Rooney, lying in an oxygen tent.

Mia Farrow: 'My faith helps me through hard times'

Although a devout Catholic, Mia Farrow is happy to face evil in her latest film, she tells Gill Pringle

The War of the World, by Niall Ferguson

The mammal that massacres

Poseidon (12A) <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

In the week that United 93 comes out, this disaster remake looks even more inconsequential than it would ordinarily have done. High seas specialist Wolfgang Petersen once made Das Boot, the best ever submarine movie, but he also made The Perfect Storm, and it's that CGI overkill to which Poseidon clings. When a freak wave capsizes a luxury cruise liner (and cuts short some gratingly naff New Year celebrations), a band of passengers decides to climb through the bowels of the ship before it sinks. Kurt Russell and Josh Lucas lead the attempt, the former an ex-fireman, the latter an ex-Navy man, and there's a champion swimmer on the team, too. Couldn't they have had a few regular people unqualified to deal with maritime calamity? There are a few frights, but nothing can dispel its air of tawdry contrivance.

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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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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
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
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