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.

Britain and US frustrate global deal on bonus cap

Opponents of pay policy say attempt to limit bankers' income would be unworkable

Leading article: The global economy is not yet out of the woods

The G20 must beware seeking to end support measures too early

Tories side with Europe over stimulus plan

The Conservative Party backed Germany and France yesterday in their row with the British Government over how long the global economic bailout should continue.

Stephen Foley: United we stand, divided bankers win

US Outlook: As one of the few world leaders who really believes in the G20 negotiations of the biggest industrialised economies, it must be pretty galling for Gordon Brown that his own Financial Services Authority has shot him in the foot even before he goes to the meeting in Pittsburgh next month.

Gym killer was driven by his hatred of women

Computer programmer's blog reveals anger and loneliness that motivated Pittsburgh killing spree

Silent gunman murders four in gym

A gunman walked into an exercise class at a health club and opened fire, killing four people and himself and injuring at least 10 others.

Did leak from a laboratory cause swine flu pandemic?

Same strain of influenza was released by accident three decades ago

Reckless Amy: The greatest songwriter you've never heard of

'Heroin addicts, ex-cons, married men...' Amy Rigby has always based her darkly funny tales of love-gone-wrong on her own life. So how did the 'greatest modern songwriter you've never heard of' find herself living in the middle of nowhere with a former punk-rocker called Wreckless Eric?

Ice Hockey: Pittsburgh ready for a Red Wings rematch

The Pittsburgh Penguins are back in the Stanley Cup finals after beating the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 to win the Eastern Conference title on Tuesday.

US unemployment rate hits 8.1%

American Football: 'Big Ben' drives Steelers on to Super Bowl glory

Numbers add up for Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh's game-winning quarterback

NFL: Cardinals and Steelers arrive for Super Bowl

The pilot of their airplane stuck a team flag out the cockpit window as the Arizona Cardinals landed in a place few could have imagined.

NFL: McGahee hurt as Steelers reach Super Bowl

The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens 23-14 in a bone-jarring AFC Championship game Sunday to set up a Super Bowl XLIII clash against the darkhorse Arizona Cardinals.

Virtual voyeurs get unusual 'art' in Street View

Anyone using Google's Street View map feature to scan one downtown Pittsburgh street is bound to take a closer look.

PNC to buy ailing National City for $5.6 billion

PNC Financial Services Group Inc agreed to buy ailing National City Corp in a government-backed $5.6 billion deal that will rescue the Ohio-based lender and create the No. 5 US bank by deposits.

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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
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