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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.

Getty Images

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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A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
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Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

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What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist?

Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories
Chinese web dissenters using coded language to dodge censorship filters and vent frustration at government

Are you a 50-center?

Decoding the Chinese web dissenters
The Beatles film Help, released 50 years ago, signalled the birth of the 'metrosexual' man

Help signalled birth of 'metrosexual' man

The Beatles' moptop haircuts and dandified fashion introduced a new style for the modern Englishman, says Martin King
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Hollywood's new diet trends

Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?
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Ashes 2015: Steven Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Middlesex bowler claims Ashes hat-trick of Clarke, Voges and Marsh
Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Atwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works