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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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Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas