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.

Woods refuses to have hang up with AT&T

Perhaps this really is a new Tiger Woods. Not only did the world No 1 break the habit of a career yesterday and commit to two events weeks before their entries deadline, but one of the sponsors of those tournaments dropped him in the wake of his sex scandal.

Trail of the unexpected: Street art in Pennsylvania

Chris Coplans takes a tour of the striking murals that are transforming this vibrant city

Album: Dr Dog, Shame, Shame (Anti)

This Philadelphia band's loyal followers have always claimed that, studio-wise, their best is yet to come.

Americans get a kick out of facing England

As the World Cup approaches, the start of the Major League Soccer season has ushered in a crucial year Stateside. Simon Hart reports

Oprah Winfrey settles defamation lawsuit

Oprah Winfrey settled a defamation lawsuit filed by a headmistress she accused of performing poorly at her South African girls school, where some students claimed they were abused, lawyers said.

'Jihad Jane' denies terror charges

A Pennsylvania woman who called herself "Jihad Jane" pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges of providing material support to terrorists and conspiring to kill in a foreign country.

America confronts its worst nightmare: blonde 'Jihad Jane'

White terrorist suspect never gave any clue of pro-Muslim sympathies

'Jihad Jane' held in plot to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks

An indictment against a woman from suburban Philadelphia accused of recruiting jihadist fighters online and moving to Europe to try to kill a Swedish artist is a rare case of an American woman aiding foreign terrorists, authorities say, and shows the evolution of the threat of terrorism.

Album: Peter Gabriel, Scratch My Back (Virgin/Real World)

The covers album as we know it dates back to 1973, when David Bowie's Pin Ups and Bryan Ferry's These Foolish Things were released.

Val Avery: Character actor best known for his work with John Cassavetes

Val Avery, a versatile character actor with a bulky persona and craggy, pock-marked features, played in over 100 films and 200 television shows in a career that spanned 50 years.

Todd Rundgren, Hammersmith Apollo, London

To a certain generation of former furry freaks, now bald retro-rockers, Todd Rundgren inspires fierce devotion. The American eccentric's success as a producer, supervising sessions for the Ramones, Meat Loaf, etc, gave him financial independence. Hence, if he wanted to make something as off-kilter as A Wizard, A True Star, a concept album with no concept, he could. Now he's touring the LP for the first time – 37 years late. Rundgren may be an oddball, but there are 3,500 elders here who see him as a True Star. And they have a point.

Teddy Pendergrass: Philadelphia soul singer who had hits with 'If You Don't Know Me by Now' and 'Close the Door'

At his best, Teddy Pendergrass was an unsurpassable soul singer and such performances as "If You Don't Know Me by Now", "Don't Leave Me This Way" (both made with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes), "Close the Door" and "Love T.K.O." will endure as long as records are made. Unfortunately, he often recorded mediocre material and spent too much time cultivating his "ladies only" repertoire.

R&B love crooner Teddy Pendergrass dead at 59

Teddy Pendergrass, the seductive American rhythm-and-blues singer who continued his recording career after he was paralyzed in a 1982 car accident, has died at the age of 59, media reports said today.

NBA All Star suspended for gun incident

Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas was suspended without pay by NBA commissioner David Stern on Wednesday for behavior that made him "not currently fit to take the court."

Blizzard-like storm slams US East Coast

A blizzard-like storm rocked the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern US states on yesterday, crippling travel across the region and leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power.

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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