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
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture