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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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Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview