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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'

Barack Obama in Afghanistan last week

Rupert Cornwell: Who'd have thought it? Democrats are the new he-men

Out of America: Obama's common-sense hawkishness confounds received wisdom and may win him re-election

Grace Dent on Television: The Bridge, BBC4

Spoiler alert: The Bridge may be a dinner-party talking point, but I'd rather watch the Steps reunion

WPP affiliates linked to right-wing US Senator

Individuals and lobby groups linked to the advertising giant WPP have emerged as some of the biggest backers of Jeff Sessions, one of America's most hardline Republican senators.

Hey, Mr President, can you spare a dime?

Barack Obama often gets asked for money, and sometimes he gets his personal chequebook out

Clair George: CIA officer who was convicted of lying to Congress over the Iran-Contra affair

In the mid-1980s, Clair George, who has died aged 81, was deputy director of operations for the Central Intelligence Agency, its third-highest position, in charge of covert espionage operations worldwide. George was in one sense an American George Smiley, a professional less concerned with his own advancement than with the success, and the reputation, of the agency he served. But Smiley never found himself brought before congressional committees to testify about his agency's involvement in, or knowledge of, illegal activities run out of the White House. To protect the CIA, George lied about the Iran-Contra operation, and was eventually convicted of two counts of perjury. Though a presidential pardon meant he avoided a jail sentence, by then he had been forced to resign from the agency he had tried to protect.

On the buses: Presidential hopefuls hit the roads

Obama's Coach Force One joins a tradition of US campaigning

Leading article: Presidents past

US Independence Day was marked in London with the unveiling of a 10ft bronze statue of the late US President, Ronald Reagan, outside the US embassy. To which there is only one rational response: why? At least it was not funded by the British taxpayer. On the other hand, if the project had depended on British money, there might well have been no statue at all. The only home-grown contribution was Westminster Council's decision to waive a rule that requires someone to have been dead for 10 years before qualifying for a public statue. Which prompts thoughts about who might justifiably qualify for such a dispensation. How about Mikhail Gorbachev – the man who really ended the Cold War?

Picture of the day: Statue honours Ronald Reagan's day in the sun

Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and British Foreign Secretary William Hague bask in the sunlight as a new statue of Ronald Reagan is unveiled in London's Grosvenor Square.

Ronald Reagan statue unveiled in London

A statue of former US president Ronald Reagan has been unveiled to mark 100 years since his birth.

Leading article: False notes

Musicians like to think they are writing songs for people like themselves, but they can be sorely mistaken, as Tom Petty found when his anthem "American Girl" was blasted out before the right-wing US presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann took the stage. He promptly sent her a "cease and desist" letter.

When politicians fail to strike the right chord

After Tom Petty tells Michele Bachmann to stop using his song 'American Girl', Guy Adams on the perils of mixing pop and politics

Reagan: A president's second act

A new statue of Ronald Reagan in London confirms the reverence with which this once-mocked leader is held. And an heir is expected from the next generation of Republican candidates, says Rupert Cornwell

Jodie Foster - A single-minded star who is nobody's puppet

Jodie Foster has been steadfast in her defence of her friend, and latest leading man, Mel Gibson. She opens up to Kaleem Aftab

Calls to legalise cannabis and ecstasy

Panel of distinguished world figures wants an end to 50-year war on drugs

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Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships