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

Clean and serene: Platform beds were inspired by Japanese ryokans, while iPads add a hi-tech touch

Stay The Night: Hôtel Americano, New York

This addition to Manhattan's Chelsea district encapsulates the gentrification of a formerly commercial area

Tanker re-routed amid cracks fears

A tanker carrying more than 55,000 tonnes of gas oil off the north west of Ireland has been re-routed to Belfast amid fears over cracks to its body.

Meet Me in St. Louis (U)

Starring: Judy Garland, Margaret O'Brien

Meet Me in St. Louis (U)

Starring: Judy Garland, Margaret O'Brien
Bidding was intense at the auction

Age of austerity? £74m spent on Taylor's bauble collection

Asian buyers fuel record bids for glittering array of Hollywood star's diamonds and pearls

Kreisler’s musical and verbal pyrotechnics have helped generate enduring interest in his songs

Georg Kreisler: Satirist and doyen of Viennese cabaret

Georg Kreisler was widely acknowledged in Germany and Austria as a master of the satirical songs for which Viennese cabaret is held in such esteem. Celebrated above all for his dazzling and provocative texts, his skill in setting them to music and his virtuoso stage performances at the piano, Kreisler was also a novelist, poet, dramatist, theatre director and composer. Almost as striking as his landmark creative career were his remarkable experiences during the Second World War.

Poisoning link threatens future of fracking

US study casts doubt on controversial shale gas extraction process – as Government considers allowing its widespread use here
Byrne says: 'People who say that travel is half the fun must be having really bad holidays'

My Life In Travel: Ed Byrne, comedian

'I would like to trek up to Everest Base Camp'

Light fantastic: Manhattan's Park Avenue

Last Weekend: New York's swagger can't be beaten

It sounds an extravagant solution to the pre-Christmas blues, but if you want to escape the relentless gloom on this side of the Atlantic try a weekend in New York.

Mull Historical Society, Bush Hall, London (4/5)

When Colin MacIntyre was a young man on Mull, he’d look out at the Atlantic dark and feel he was on the edge of the world.

Empty spaces, drifting lives: Night scene in Kreuzberg, Berlin

My Mother's Lover, By Urs Widmer, trans. Donal McLaughlin<br />The Shadow-Boxing Woman, By Inka Parei, trans. Katy Derbyshire<br />Summer Resort, By Esther Kinsky, trans. Martin Chalmers

When looking for an excellent translation of a work of fiction from Switzerland or Germany, a volume of philosophy from France, or narratives from the languages of the African continent, do your thoughts turn to Kolkata? Perhaps they should. Long regarded as a city of literature and learning, the metropolis by the Hooghly has another string to its erudite bow, still too well-kept a secret in Britain: Seagull Books.

One Day I Will Write About This Place, By Binyavanga Wainaina

December 1995, and three generations of Binyavanga Wainaina's family gather in Kisoro to celebrate Christmas. From this town at the tip of western Uganda you can see across the Mufumbiro mountains into Rwanda and Congo. The nationalities in the house reflect the geography. The Wainainas have arrived from Kenya, aunt Rosaria from Rwanda, cousins from Kampala and aunt Christine from the US. Warm in the enveloping arms of this multilingual, multinational song-singing family, Binyavanga decides, "one day, I will write about this place".

College Choir of St John's celebrates 500th anniversary

As a punt chauffeur and recent graduate, I spent a summer ferrying tourists up and down the River Cam, spinning ludicrous yarns about the University. Two things about this most beautiful of journeys will have stayed in the river-goers' minds: colliding with other punts and the chapel of King's College.

Dr James Hansen first raised the issue of global warming at a 1988 US Senate hearing

Father of climate change: 2C limit is not enough

Talks to limit global temperature rises to 2C will not prevent the possibility of dangerous climate change, warns the scientist who first raised the alarm over global warming.

Kim Kardashian's long-distance warnings

Kim Kardashian warned Kris Humphries their marriage would not work if they lived in separate states. 

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 12 March 2015
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor