News Yes we can (fit it all in): Obama has come under fire for his fat-filled photo shoots

The POTUS has revealed his past as a pot-user. These days, says David Usborne, Barack Obama has other vices

Jolyon Myers, video game designer

Insight: Jolyon Myers, video game designer

'Exploring the worlds I design is wonderful'

Sergey Brin and Larry Page met at Stanford University in California, as computer science students. Their talent was spotted in 1998 by Andy
Bechtolsheim, founder of Sun Microsystems, who put up $100,000. Google is now valued at over £125bn

Where's the smart money? Private sector urged to run universities – and turn Nobels into cash

Tories want big business to establish science and technology institutions in bid to boost economy

Hello Giggles: the relentlessly upbeat Zooey Deschanel as Jess (with Jake Johnson, who plays Nick) in her upcoming
sitcom 'New Girl'

'I do try really hard to be normal'

Zooey Deschanel is playing to type as a girly kook in her lauded new sitcom. It might not be to everyone's taste, but it's just the way she is, she tells Sarah Hughes

Zooey Deschanel: 'I do try really hard to be normal'

Zooey Deschanel is playing to type as a girly kook in her lauded new sitcom. It may not be to everyone's taste, but it's just the way she is

Doesn’t Kim Jong-un realise his haircut is nothing if not Western imperialist?
Peter Carey attempts his Booker hat-trick in April with The Chemistry of Tears (Faber, £17.99)

Why it's best to spend 2012 between the covers

From Australia to Antarctica, and from historical fiction to up-to-the-minute, state-of-the-nation pronouncements, Katy Guest looks forward to the titles that we'll most enjoy losing ourselves in during the coming year

Comic book artist Jerry Robinson

Jerry Robinson: Comic book artist whose most famous creation was The Joker

A central figure in the so-called Golden Age of comic books, Jerry Robinson, who has died aged 89, was perhaps best known as the creator of The Joker, probably the best known villain in comics history.

Open Jaw: Airlines go for Olympic gold

Where readers write back

Rail manager committed suicide after corrupt dealings exposed

A senior manager at Network Rail committed suicide with his wife after the net began to close in on a scam involving bribes from corrupt executives.

US soldiers charged over comrade who 'shot himself'

Eight US soldiers were yesterday charged in relation to the death of a fellow GI who authorities say apparently shot himself in Afghanistan after being assaulted and taunted with racial insults by his comrades.

Rebel ally freed after 15 years

An American woman paroled after 15 years in a Peruvian jail for aiding left-wing guerrillas returned to the US yesterday.

Claiming jockey Brendan Powell Jnr made a splash at Plumpton yesterday with his first treble

Turner back after tests of fitness and stamina

Her return in its final, dark days serves as a timely reminder that few shone more brightly on the British Turf in 2011 than Hayley Turner. The first female rider to win a Group One prize outright when taking the July Cup on Dream Ahead, she won a second on Margot Did in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York – the very race in which Alex Greaves had made that initial breakthrough for their sex, by sharing a dead-heat in 1997. But Turner was brought down to earth within 10 days, breaking an ankle in a fall at Bath.

DSK gloomy on the euro as treaty talks start

The former International Monetary Fund chief, Dominique Strauss-Kahn described the euro as a "raft about to capsize" yesterday on the eve of renewed treaty talks in Brussels.

Ed Ruscha's 'Standard Station' and 'A Bigger Splash' by David Hockney at the Getty

California dreamers still make a splash

A sprawling, multi-gallery exhibition of West Coast art shines a light on artists who flourished before the market took over their world, says Karen Wright

New York rail experts are favourites to win HS2

Project manager Parsons Brinckerhoff is favourite for the development partner role on the proposed £32bn High Speed 2 rail link from London to Birmingham.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee