Sport Seattle, led by Russell Wilson, are favourites to win next month's Super Bowl

For devotees of the NFL, this is as good as it gets – the divisional round of the play-offs, four games pitting the regular season’s finest against four challengers already battle-hardened by victory in last weekend’s ever-treacherous wild-card round. And in 2014 there’s an extra twist: the prospect that one of the longest, most painful droughts in US sport might be near an end.

Be reborn in the USA

Juliet Kinsman selects 10 of the best wellness venues, from day spas to destination retreats

Traveller's guide: Gourmet USA

The nation that finessed fast food also boasts a world-class culinary scene. By Andy Lynes

Pitching well above par

These quirky courses will change your game, says James Cusick

New York goes from a 'Summer of Blood' to a day with no violent crime as city records first day in memory where no one was shot or knifed

The rare occasion came as New York approached the end of a year when the city's murder rate is on target to hit its lowest point since 1960

Incredible lunk: Bradley Cooper, as the troubled Pat, is both touching and threatening

IoS film review: Silver Linings Playbook

Mental troubles give way to romantic concerns in David O Russell's suburban comedy-drama

PlayStation’s All-Stars meet their match in artist Aled Lewis

Aled Lewis releases art inspired by PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.

Anish Kapoor goes Gangnam Style for freedom - and Ai Weiwei

Turner prize-winning artist Anish Kapoor has made a tribute Psy "Gangnam Style" video in support of Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei.

Virgin Atlantic to resume New York flights

Virgin Atlantic said today it would be resuming its flights to and from storm-lashed New York with its first flight due to leave Heathrow around noon.

Justin Cronin: 'It's not the end of the world, you know...'

The author of the best-selling vampire thriller 'The Passage', tells Stephanie Cross why he finds post-apocalypse stories so hopeful

Bob Brooks: Director and photographer behind noted TV ads

They peel them with their metal knives... then they smash them all to bits... they are clearly a most primitive people".

An ‘alcohol-fuelled’ fight between two rival wedding receptions has left one man dead.

Video: 'Did they just deck the bride?' - Mass 'alcohol-fuelled' wedding brawl leaves one man dead

The whole incident was filmed by a guest at the hotel, who was angry that his own birthday celebrations were being ruined by the noise from the duelling wedding receptions.

Kimpton opens Hotel Monaco in Philadelphia this Thursday. The colourful 268-room retreat will have a Red Owl Tavern restaurant with a deli and classic American dishes, plus a rooftop cocktail lounge on the 11th floor overlooking the Liberty

Camouflage war-paint could protect soldiers from blast burns

A new camouflage war-paint could also protect soldiers from the searing heat of bomb blasts.

Luke Treadaway is a challenge for Niamh Cusack at the National

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Cottesloe NT, London
Philadelphia, Here I Come! Donmar Warehouse, London
Much Ado About Nothing, Courtyard, Stratford-Upon-Avon

The best-selling novel about a sleuthing boy with Asperger's syndrome loses something in adaptation, yet still moves

Philadelphia, Here I Come! Donmar Warehouse

Josie rourke’s varied and rewarding first season at the donmar Warehouse comes to a close now with this strongly affecting revival by Lyndsey Turner of the play that put Brian Friel on the map back in 1964.

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Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?