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
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
film
Career Services

Day In a Page

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
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
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas