John Mccain

Barack Obama's new Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel grilled in Senate

Chuck Hagel, the former Republican senator picked by President Barack Obama as his new Secretary of Defence, had a rocky audition on Capitol Hill today as he sought to fend off criticism of his past positions on such hot-zone topics as relations with Israel and Iran and the war in Iraq.

Those who let Magnitsky die were hoping the case would die with him.

When Sergei Magnitsky lay close to death in Moscow's Butyrka Prison in 2009, his worsening illness left untreated and exacerbated by beatings, few people heard his cries of pain. A man who had uncovered something dangerous, he was left to meet a horrible end, and none of the people who let it happen imagined that years later his demise would become an international cause célèbre and one of the most poignant reminders of the dangers of doing business in post-Communist Russia.

10 to watch over jumps this winter

The National Hunt season hits top gear this weekend. With Flemenstar and Sprinter Sacre already on their way to the top, Chris McGrath picks lesser lights to look out for

Sea Of Thunder can drown out big noise Boston Bob

Willie Mullins has described Boston Bob as a match for any novice he has ever brought to the Festival, which guarantees he will start a hot favourite for the Albert Bartlett Hurdle today. It would be no surprise to see him look a Gold Cup winner in the making, but the odds will be very short about a horse running on quick ground for the first time.

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Rupert Cornwell: What counts now is cash – and Romney is winning

To paraphrase Winston Churchill's words about the battle of El Alamein and its place in the Second World War, this month of January does not signify the end of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, nor even necessarily the beginning of the end. But it is very much the end of the beginning.

Inside Obama's Chicago machine

As the Republican primaries get under way, David Usborne is granted exclusive access to the crack team in the President's home town who hope to neutralise the enemy and return their man to the White House