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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'

Man of the hour? 'Genius strategist' Lynton Crosby

If the Tories want a majority at the next election, they should hurry up and sign Lynton Crosby

The Australian political strategist was a proven winner with John Howard and Boris Johnson. His politics are populist, negative and ugly - but above all effective

Amol Rajan: The man who might get the Tories back on track

This may be the week that an Australian you've probably never heard of becomes the third most powerful man in government, after David Cameron and George Osborne. So today I thought I'd tell you a bit about Lynton Crosby.

Editorial: How scared should we be of a Romney presidency?

Less than a month ago, the prospect seemed remote – but there is now a very real possibility that Mitt Romney could win the US presidency on 6 November. The intricate electoral college mathematics of the eight or nine all-important swing states still slightly favours Barack Obama. The momentum, too, could shift in the last 10 days. But as matters now stand, that momentum is unarguably with the Republican challenger, who now holds a slight lead in national polls.

Christoph Waltz won an Oscar for best supporting actor for his role in Quentin Tarantino's 'Inglourious Basterds'

From Nazi colonel to glasnost, Waltz to star as Gorbachev in 'Reykjavik'

He won an Oscar for his portrayal of a brutal colonel in the SS, and now Christoph Waltz is heading to the other end of the political spectrum as he steps into the shoes of the former leader of the Soviet Union.

Ronald Reagan raises Specter's hand at a fund-raising party for Specter in 1980

Arlen Specter: Influential Senator for the Democrats and Republicans

Maverick" is an overworked word in the political lexicon, but it applies perfectly to Arlen Specter, a giant of the US Senate, a moderate in views if not in manner, who over his three decades on Capitol Hill career would constantly infuriate liberals and conservatives in equal measure. He began his career in public life in 1965 by running – and winning – as a registered Democrat on the Republican ticket for district attorney for the city of Philadelphia. He ended it, to all intents and purposes, in 2009 when, his Pennsylvania seat under dire threat from a far-right challenger, he switched back from the Republicans to the Democrats. This time he was less successful, losing in the Democratic primary to a challenger from the left.

The universal panning he received will have stung Mr Obama’s pride

Romney was heading for disaster – but now it's the President hanging by a thread

The universal panning he received will have stung Mr Obama's pride

The four most important televised debates in US presidential history

Televised debates have been around for more than half a century. Rarely do they alone determine an election’s result. But they can shift a campaign’s momentum and seal an impression of a candidate in voters’ minds. Here are four of the most important.

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The greatest political showdown on earth

It's make-or-break time in the world's most important, and expensive, election. On the eve of tomorrow's televised debate between the presidential candidates (the first of three), Rupert Cornwell looks forward to a momentous month

Journalist Brian Crozier dies aged 94

Tributes have been paid to journalist and activist Brian Crozier who has died.

Stephen Foley: These banking watchdogs are off the leash and can now make a difference

Our band of outlaw regulators arrives at the right moment

Rupert Cornwell: The rust belt punishes a tactical blunder... and Barack Obama could be the real loser

The recall was meant to be a show of strength for the unions. The outcome was exactly the opposite

Ronald Reagan blood vial auction cancelled after outrage

The online auction of a vial of Ronald Reagan’s blood has been terminated following outrage from the former US President’s foundation in California.

The seller claims their mother 'did the blood work' on President Ronald Reagan

Auction site offers blood from Ronald Reagan assassination bid

Ex-President's foundation threatens legal action to prevent Guernsey firm selling grisly souvenir

Ronald Reagan's foundation objects to auction of vial of the former US president's blood

Ronald Reagan's foundation expressed outrage yesterday at a British company's auction of what it says is a vial of the late US president's blood taken at the hospital where he was treated after a 1981 assassination attempt.

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Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there