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.

President Barack Obama pushed ahead yesterday with his choice of the former US Senator Chuck Hagel as America’s next Pentagon chief while nominating his anti-terror advisor, John Brennan, as director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

Chuck Hagel was chosen by Obama because they agree war is always a last resort

Veterans of the Drip will remember that we flagged up a brilliant piece by the New York Times' David Brooks explaining why Chuck Hagel was chosen for the Pentagon. Brooks argument was simple and persuasive. The huge costs of Obamacare will put intolerable pressure on America's budget. Defence spending will need to be cut. Therefore Obama needed a Republican war veteran as political cover.

Unhitched: the Trial of Christopher Hitchens, By Richard Seymour

Sectarian and mean-spirited, this far-left attack on the late contrarian author fails to convince

Editorial: Politics and patience are the right response

It was with some trepidation that we waited for the Prime Minister's statement in the House of Commons this afternoon. Over the weekend, as the news from Algeria grew ever bleaker and the death toll from the attack on the In Amenas gas plant continued to rise, the tone of official pronouncements, including from David Cameron on Sunday, sounded alarmingly simplistic and shrill.

Second inaugural addresses: fraught with difficulty and rarely memorable

The second inaugural address has rarely been memorable. Save for Abraham Lincoln’s, which struck a series of soaring notes, including “Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty source of war may speedily pass away”, they are fraught with difficulty.

Markets set for fiery day after US 'fiscal cliff' deal

Global stock markets are expected to face turbulent trading when they re-open today as investors give their initial verdict on the US budget agreement to avert the "fiscal cliff" of combined general tax rises and public spending cuts.

Turmoil fear as US pulls back from 'fiscal cliff'

Markets worldwide face volatility after late compromise on tax rises and spending cuts

The News Matrix: Tuesday 1 January 2013

Tories lose voters to Labour and Ukip

Ex-US president George H W Bush in intensive care

Former US president George H.W. Bush has been admitted to a hospital intensive care unit “following a series of setbacks including a persistent fever”, but he is alert and talking to medical staff, his spokesman said.

Mr Bush's son, George W. Bush, the 43rd president, has been among the visitors at the hospital

Former US president George HW Bush to spend Christmas in hospital

Former US president George H.W. Bush will spend Christmas in a Texas hospital after developing a fever and weakness following a month-long, bronchitis-like cough, his spokesman said.

Editorial: Mr Obama wins, with or without a budget deal

The broad principles of a long-term solution to the US budget deficit are clear
Game changer: Marvin Miller, former head of the baseball union, pictured in 1981

Everyone's a winner on the level playing fields of sport

Out of America: Baseball and hockey don't follow the stereotype of rampant US capitalism

Republicans pin hopes for win on a third Bush

It has been less than a month since Mitt Romney was forced to abandon his 1,118-word victory speech, but already the Grand Old Party has begun the search for its great new hope, with Republican heads turning in the direction of Texas and the name Bush.

George P. Bush speaks during the 2011 Republican Leadership Conference

Republicans pin their hopes on a third George Bush

Grandson of one President – and nephew of another – signals that he is ready to run for political office

Obama advisers see mandate for fiscal policy

President Barack Obama spent Thursday meeting with senior advisers and returning a series of congratulatory phone calls from foreign leaders as the glow of his successful campaign faded into the impending grind of governing in a divided Washington.

Romney has played a textbook campaign

Editorial: High hopes to sober realism

A presidential challenger who appears to believe in so little does not deserve to win

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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
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Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
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Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone