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The First Lady on confidence, achievement and the all-important issue plaguing the female face of a nation: plastic surgery

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama attend an interfaith memorial service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing

Boston bombing: ‘This is personal,’ says President Obama as FBI zeroes in on pair of bombing ‘suspects’

President and First Lady fly in for service honouring victims

Family members of Newtown massacre victims 'were in VIP seats close to explosions' at Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon began with 26 seconds of silence for the victims of the Sandy Hook shootings and a little more than two hours later, lead runners passed through the last mile marker while was decorated with the seal of Newtown, Connecticut, and dedicated to the memory of the 20 children and six adults killed on December 14.

President Obama will forgo five per cent of his salary

Barack Obama forgoes 5% of salary to 'show solidarity' with government workers

Barack Obama is to forgo 5 per cent of his official salary in a move designed to show common cause with government workers hit by the so-called sequestration – budget cuts that are eliminating overtime for some and forcing others to take an unpaid leave of absence.

Michelle Obama, Donald Trump and Kim Kardashian are among the victims

'Doxxing' hackers target those set to investigate them

Michelle Obama, Kim Kardashian and Beyoncé are among at least 17 high-profile victims whose personal financial details have been published online by hackers.

Tibetan writer and activist Tsering Woeser waves from the balcony of her home in Beijing

Tibetan poet blocked from receiving award

Beijing has prevented a Tibetan poet, Tsering Woeser, from travelling to the US to pick up an international women’s award by refusing to issue her a passport.

International Women’s Day: fearless, female and a force to be reckoned with

Hey ladies, it’s our day today. Some might say that half the population need more than just 24 hours... and we’d agree. But with global events shedding light on women’s rights, and Michelle Obama recognising extraordinary heroines, it’s a small step in the right direction.

Sesame Street: Forget chicken wings (sorry, Big Bird), it’s time to learn about healthy snacks

Michelle Obama: Give that First Lady her own TV show!

Phew! It’s been a busy couple of weeks for Michelle Obama (though probably not as busy as when she was a vice-president of the University of Chicago Medical Centre and a mother-of-two with a partner who was off politicking all the blooming time). She’s been on American TV six times in the past fortnight, promoting her healthy-living “Let’s Move!” campaign. US right-wingers have moaned she’s not a celebrity; we say, give her a show!

State of the Union speech: Barack Obama tackles economy and tries to put human face on plea for tougher gun laws

By turns pugnacious and inspirational, Barack Obama last night used his State of the Union address to table a laundry list of aspirations for his second term that ranged from achieving tax reform to increasing the minimum wage and tackling issues from gun control to immigration and climate change. 

Gun control, terrorism, gay rights and climate change: Obama sets out his bold battle plan for the next four years

President’s uncompromising address threw down gauntlet to the Republicans

The PS 22 choir from Staten Island, New York perform during the presidential inauguration on the West Front of the US Capitol

Barack Obama's second inauguration: an oath ceremony that's only for show

Everything is going swimmingly so far in the four-day bash that is Barack Obama’s second inauguration as President of the United States, or POTUS to the Secret Service and the White House correspondents who must keep tabs on him. 

The President and the First Lady at the Inaugural Ball in Washington in 2009

Barack and Michelle Obama invite you to the inauguration party of the 44th President of the United States...

Stevie's going. So's Alicia – and Beyoncé. But if you want to get into the hottest event of next week's Obama inauguration, you'll need $1m...

Downton Abbey: Fellowes’ biggest success would also qualify, as it has a British cast and makes lavish use of Highclere Castle in Berkshire

Apple allows Americans to preview Downton Abbey on iTunes

If, like Michelle Obama, you are US-based and too obsessed with Downton Abbey to wait for it to be screened on PBS, iTunes might have the answer.

Why does Beyoncé advertise Pepsi?

Beyoncé is, quite literally, the face of Pepsi. Last month she had the logo of the drinks giant printed across her lips, and on February 3rd, at the Super Bowl halftime show, she'll rock a stadium to promote Coca-Cola's longtime rival. For this and other efforts, the singer is being paid the handsome fee of $50 million: but even such vast quantities of cash shouldn't convince stars to sell soda, argues Mark Bittman in the New York Times.

US President Barack Obama delivers remarks while visiting military personnel eating Christmas Dinner at Anderson Hall at Marine Corps Base Hawaii

Obama cuts holiday to help avert 'fiscal cliff'

After just four days of vacation, President Barack Obama will leave Hawaii on Wednesday evening to return to Washington in a last-ditch effort to reach a deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff."

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.

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Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
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The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
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Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
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Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
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Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
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An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
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Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
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Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
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NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own