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American Football: All eyes on rising star Russell Wilson as Seattle

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.

Romney makes final campaign sprint

No longer does Mitt Romney tout himself as "severely conservative," as he did last winter and into the spring. And no longer does Romney hail his running mate, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, as first and foremost a conservative icon.

Duran Duran cancel third US gig

Duran Duran have cancelled a third consecutive American concert after a band-member contracted a suspected viral illness.

The Reading List: Strikes


In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck, Penguin Modern Classics £14.99

Steinbeck's novel about politics and labour in the United States, In Dubious Battle, is set in California apple farming country, where a strike by migrant workers spirals out of control, becoming a bloody clash of ideologies.

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.

David Usborne: Pittsburgh gears up to stop protesters crashing party

Protesters clashed with riot police on the streets of Pittsburgh last night as world leaders gathered in the city for the G20 summit. There were reports that pepper gas and rubber bullets were used to disperse pockets of demonstrators who had tried, but failed, to reach the convention centre.

World Focus: A tough test for Obama's open-arms diplomacy

President Barack Obama begins three days of non-stop conferring with other world leaders tomorrow that will highlight his commitment to multilateralism and US engagement – even with America's natural foes – but threatens also to expose the scant dividends so far yielded by his open-arms approach.

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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?