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.

Walking six miles a week boosts the brain

Healthy people who walk at least six miles a week have bigger brains, better memories and improved mental function compared with couch potatoes, a study has found.

JetBlue attendant wants his job back

The fed-up flight attendant who set a new standard for quitting when he abandoned his job via an emergency chute isn't as much of a quitter as everyone thought.

Judge brings name change petitioner to heel

A US judge denied a man's petition to legally change his name to Boomer the Dog.

LinkedIn makes first acquisition

LinkedIn is making its first acquisition, a company that sifts through large amounts of data to try to determine relevant information, the business social networking site said on Wednesday.

Story of the Song: Bob Marley's Redemption Song

Despite never making the UK charts, "Redemption Song" remains one of Bob Marley's defining songs. The closing track on his final studio album, 1980's 'Uprising', it's the sound of the reggae star signing off with special poignancy. It was written and rehearsed by Marley and the Wailers in the closing months of 1979, during the band's live shows for the 'Survival' album, but kept in the can. When Marley presented Island Records' Chris Blackwell with the tapes for 'Uprising', the following year, Blackwell nodded with pursed lips. Good as it was, he thought it lacked something. Marley took his point and the following day he returned with the outstanding "Redemption Song" which duly completed the album's running order.

Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Young Vic, London

Arresting but quite hard work

She's Out of My League (15)

Kingsley Amis used to divide lookers and non-lookers into "smashers" and "duffers". In this American romcom, wouldn't you know, it's boiled down to numbers.

David Usborne: Disaster is casting dark shadow over President's reform agenda

The oil spill in the Gulf Coast is threatening wildlife, tourist beaches and the company responsible for it, BP. But another victim has started to come into focus: President Barack Obama.

Obama's men face drubbing in anti-Washington electoral revolt

Swing state Pennsylvania is headache for all on Capitol Hill as Tea Party effect bites

Manhood for Amateurs, By Michael Chabon

In the name of bungling fathers

Zelda Rubinstein: Actress best known for playing the eccentric medium in 'Poltergeist'

Zelda Rubinstein will be best remembered for her role as the eccentric medium attempting to free a home of demonic influences in Tobe Hooper's horror film Poltergeist (1982). Rubenstein was 4ft 3in tall, and the original script, co-written by Steven Spielberg, who was also a producer of the film, was conceived with the role of psychic Tangina Barrons expressly written to be played by a little person.

Clouds gather as G20 finance ministers try to engineer a global recovery

Follow-up to Pittsburgh summit will grapple with growth and climate issues

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: America's racial divide is healing faster than our own

Black Americans can rise to the sky – but the poorest languish forever

David Prosser: Let's milk the squid, not murder it

Outlook The great vampire squid, as Goldman Sachs was notoriously dubbed at the height of the backlash against bankers this summer, is back with a vengeance, wrapping itself around the face of humanity to the tune of £5.35bn in pay and bonuses for the past three months alone. What a naughty vampire squid.

Emerging economies battle for more voting rights at IMF

2G20 proposal on greater say for developing nations faces further scrutiny
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Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen