News Wondering where Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey have disappeared to?

The First Lady is bunkered down at the chat show host's sprawling luxury estate in Maui, reports suggest

The Comet Pan-Starrs is making a rare visit to the inner solar system in the middle of this week, and will fly past the sun

Pan-Starrs: astonomers warned to avoid danger to their eyes from bright comet

Also known as C/2011 L4, the comet won't be seen again from earth for another 110,000 years

Tsunami kills at least five people in Solomon Islands

A powerful 8.0-magnitude earthquake set off a tsunami that killed at least five people in a remote part of the Solomon Islands and triggered evacuations across the South Pacific.

Blue Hawaii
Manti Te'o broke American hearts with the sad story of how his girlfriend died - but it turns out she never existed

American Football: The linebacker and the fantasy girl

One of the brightest young talents in American sport, Manti Te'o broke fans' hearts with the sad tale of his girlfriend's death. There's one problem: she never really existed

Daniel Inouye: War hero and respected Senator

Daniel Inouye was a highly decorated Second World War veteran who used his status as one of the longest-serving and most powerful Democrat Senators to funnel billions of dollars to his native Hawaii. He came to national attention when he helped orchestrate inquiries into the Watergate scandal and the Iran-Contra affair.

Obama takes an island break from the pressures of office

With Washington struggling to come to an agreement on the "fiscal cliff", President Barack Obama arrived in Hawaii at the weekend for a Christmas break with his family.

IoS album review: Bruno Mars, Unorthodox Jukebox (Atlantic/Elektra)

For a 21st-century pop megastar, Bruno Mars doesn’t half sound old-fashioned.

Album: The Bryan Ferry Orchestra, The Jazz Age (BMG)

As reinventions go, this is unexpected: Roxy Music's futurist pop re-recorded as Dixieland jazz instrumentals by Bryan Ferry himself.

The number of women increases in Congress

Election boosts ranks of women in Congress

Twenty years after the election that was heralded as the "year of the woman" comes another one that could be called that.

Tsunami warning for Hawaii after powerful earthquake off the coast of Canada

At least 100,000 people in Hawaii were ordered to move from the shoreline to higher ground late on Saturday after a tsunami warning, but the first waves were less forceful than had been feared and no damage was initially reported.

The Brothers Obama – who's the role model now?

Barack and George were saint and sinner. But as the President's term of office closes, they appear to be exchanging roles

A study based on satellite data of the Earth's atmosphere has shown there is a complicated interaction between the varying amounts of radiation from the Sun and the amount of ozone in the atmosphere

Sun is too round, say scientists

A mystery surrounds the shape of the Sun - it is just too perfectly round, say scientists.

Trending: The phone case that's strictly not for losers

I am, I have to admit, a massive loser. Not in that way. What I mean is, I lose my personal possessions with the same facility other people have for breathing or sleeping. I've said goodbye – or rather, not said goodbye – to two pairs of headphones and, er, four iPhones this year. Shudder then, at the new BookBook iPhone holder (£49.99), which keeps your phone snug, while also acting as your wallet, with room for notes, credit cards and train tickets.

Observations: Back in the driving seat and geared up for a sequel

The American crime writer James Sallis – whose novel Drive was turned into the 2011 Hollywood film with Ryan Gosling – faced a welcome complication when he set about writing the just-released sequel, Driven.

Spelling: When wordsmiths go to war

"P.T.E.R.O.D.A.C.T.Y.L?" Even as someone who gets paid to write words, that one nearly stung me. The spelling bee, the US educational staple made famous by 2002 documentary, Spellbound, is now available to test British wordsmiths' spelling abilities.

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Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen