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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'

Independent Appeal: A woman's passion to put the disabled first

Rosa Salgado's campaign is backed by one of our charities

Wilson 'may have had Alzheimer's when he resigned'

Harold Wilson may have been suffering the early stages of Alzheimer's disease when he stunned Britain by resigning as Prime Minister, new research suggests.

Sketch: The First Puppy and Nancy Reagan provide light relief

Will there be one mutt or two in the White House come 20 January? The First Puppy which President-elect, Barack Obama, promised his children on election night is now "the most pressing issue for the Obama household".

Sean O'Grady: A speech with echoes of Lincoln and Nixon

It seems a strange thing to say about such a fresh figure, but the President-elect's victory speech was vintage Obama. On one level it was an entirely predictable mix of patriotism, populism and schmaltz: "all things are possible", "summon a new spirit", "the American dream", that sort of thing. The remarks about the girls' puppy coming to the White House were the cheesiest in over 50 years. They inevitably reminded one of Richard Nixon's notorious "Chequers speech", in which he pledged, in answers to allegations of corruption as early as 1952, that his two daughters would keep a cocker spaniel puppy called Chequers that they had been given. Some of the soundbites and phrases sounded just a little like they had travelled directly from focus groups of swing voters. As always, Obama's efforts were classy and confident; he marries the folksy and the statesmanlike in a way we haven't really seen since the Clinton era – but he did not say anything surprising.

Michael Brown: Under Reagan's gaze the faithful despaired

The Capitol Hill Club, Washington DC

White House Trivia: Would ya believe it?

From phoney fishing trips to hanging chads, the election of America's presidents is a feast for fans of trivia and intrigue. John Walsh separates truth from fiction

As voting begins, Obama plans transition to the White House

Veteran of Clinton era is given task of arranging smooth changeover between election and inauguration

Dylan Jones: View from the West Wing

If you ask me: America has to choose between the world's oldest white guy and an arrogant black rock star

Val Kilmer, aka Batman, the next governor of New Mexico?

Ronald Reagan made it all the way to White House, Clint Eastwood managed a term as Mayor of Carmel-by-Sea, and Arnold Schwarzenegger is still, just about, Governor of California. Now Val Kilmer could be the next "big-name" to jollify the colourful world of celebrity politics.

Have we misunderestimated George W Bush?

We may think we've got the measure of the 43rd President of the United States, the most unpopular man to have occupied the White House in modern times. But we'd be wrong, argues Rupert Cornwell. At home and abroad, the Bush years have seen real achievements – and history may judge him far more kindly than his critics would have us believe

The Week In Radio: How The Monkees kick-started Easy Rider

The one thing conspiracy theorists get right is that history is never quite as simple as it seems; there's always something – some happenstance, a hidden motive – rumbling under the surface. A couple of instances of this cropped up yesterday. Movie Outcasts: the Making of 'Easy Rider' (Radio 4) showed how Seventies counterculture and modern Hollywood were, in fact, by-products of the success of The Monkees, whose drummer, Mickey Dolenz, got to narrate.

Charles Z. Wick: USIA director whose task was to 'tell America's story to the world'

Charles Z. Wick was the key figure in the revival of America's public diplomacy during the Reagan years. A close friend of the president, from 1981 to 1989 he directed the United States Information Agency (USIA) which was the home for the American government's international information and broadcasting from 1953 to 1999.

Obama to visit Berlin for foreign policy speech

Barack Obama is expected to make a major foreign policy speech at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate at the end of July in which he promises a sharp break with the gung-ho foreign policies of George Bush, if elected President in November.

Banned! The statues they won't let you see

A little-known committee is keeping top artists out of public spaces. Richard Osley reports

Obscenity trial halted as judge admits putting porn on his website

An obscenity trial judge who insisted it was "part of the job" to sit through five hours of hardcore pornography with the jury has been forced to halt proceedings after it emerged that his personal website contains sexually explicit material.

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Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen