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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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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
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His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

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How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

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Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

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Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam