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In annual address, the President says 'too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by – let alone get ahead'

Tom Jones: Businessman

Tom Jones was chief executive of the US aerospace company Northrop for 30 years and took it to the top of its field during the Cold War while weathering a series of scandals. He took the company from a secondary aerospace subcontractor to a leading manufacturer of military aircraft, including the F-5 and F-18 fighter jets and the B-2 stealth bomber.

What’s wrong with the Tories? Why aren’t they being more optimistic?

Voters will turn away if they keep hearing sneers and grumbles from Cameron and co

James Gray enjoys lunch at The Holiday Inn in Sutton with Marian and John Cunningham

Page 3 Profile: James Gray, Christmas diner

He looks like he’s enjoying a nice Christmas dinner

Marco Rubio’s Chatham House speech received applause; but can he convince fellow Republicans?

Michael Ford: Political consultant

Democratic party strategist who guided presidential candidates like Humphrey, McGovern and Mondale

Andy McSmith's Diary: Death-wish cyclists, mooning children and a debate about litter

There has been some agonising in London about why six cyclists were killed on the roads in the space of less than two weeks. To this discussion, Lord James of Blackheath has made his distinctive contribution. His experience is that cyclists are “longing” to be run over. He told the House of Lords, during a debate on litter: “I have seen cyclists put their cycles up against the central reservation... and defy you to run them down while they photograph you doing it. This is what they are longing for.”

Part of history: Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker star in Lee Daniels's 'The Butler'

Film review: The Butler - 'A schmatlzy trawl through African-American history'

The film-makers take a tableau approach to storytelling, whisking us from one melodramatic set-piece to the next

Book review: Hollywood Left and Right, By Steven J Ross

Tinseltown's most radical put the glitz into politics

Static states: Federal workers protest at the shutdown, at the Capitol

Obamacare begins – and the right is terrified that it will work

Out of America: While all the talk is of shutdown, schemes for those without health cover open for business

A scene from Handbagged by Moira Buffini

Theatre review: Handbagged - Thatcher and the Queen make for a mischievous double act

The Queen and Margaret Thatcher are fast becoming as staple a stage double act as Hinge and Bracket. The pair featured in one of the testier confrontations in Peter Morgan’s The Audience. Now Moira Buffini has developed a sketch she wrote for the Tricycle’s 2010 Women, Power and Politics season into a fully fledged play.

US Government shutdown: What does it mean? And what are the papers saying?

A partial shutdown of the US government has begun after the two houses of Congress failed to agree a budget last night, with the Republican-led House of Representatives adamant they would only agree to a deal if it included a delay to the start of Obamacare, the President’s package of health reforms.

Labour Party Conference: Ed Miliband pledges to freeze gas and electricity bills if he wins 2015 election

Typical household would save £120 and an average business £1,800 over the 20-month period

Labour would more than double the number of new homes being built to 200,000 a year

Labour Party Conference: Labour ‘will build 200,000 homes a year by 2020,’ says Ed Miliband

Miliband to target housing shortage and  energy companies in conference speech

Secret Nixon tapes reveal intimate chat with Brezhnev - including smoking tips

Secretly recorded conversations show then US president and Soviet leader chatting warmly before summit in 1973, about subjects including smoking and getting through an official dinner with jetlag

Germany challenges UK over legal basis of GCHQ mass monitoring of global internet traffic

Germany has directly challenged British ministers over GCHQ's reported programme of the mass monitoring of global phone and internet traffic.

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Shock of the news: Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Nightcrawler’
filmReview: Gyllenhaal, in one of his finest performances, is funny, engaging and sinister all at once
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Taste the difference: Nell Frizzell tucks into a fry-up in Jesse's cafe in east London
food + drinkHow a bike accident left one woman living in a distorted world in which spices smell of old socks and muesli tastes like pork fat
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Kit Harington has been given a huge pay rise to extend his contract as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones
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Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"