Arts and Entertainment

The idea of The Great American Novel feels like an albatross around the neck of that country’s literature. Sooner or later every white middle-class male writer with any kind of reputation feels obliged to have a stab at it, usually with limited success. Eventually they think it’s time to pack away all the fun stuff like storytelling, energy and plot, and make some big state-of-the-nation address, telling people exactly how things stand in the good ol’ US of A. Interestingly, America’s women writers don’t tend to feel the obligation to grandstand so strongly, and their novels are usually all the better for that.

Dr Rachel Frosh's website

Police boss resigns after Hitler tweet

A deputy police and crime commissioner has resigned after a row sparked when she retweeted a quote by Hitler.

French intervention in Mali is not colonialism. The Islamists really are our enemies

Too often commentators do not weigh the human cost of Western inaction

Spanish corruption scandal further dents support for Rajoy government

Spain's opposition Socialist Party called yesterday for the resignation of the Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, over a corruption scandal as a poll showed the lowest support on record for his centre-right People's Party (PP).

'France is totally bankrupt': French jobs minister Michel Sapin embarrasses Francois Hollande with shocking statement on state of the country's economy

Unexpected news came during a radio interview yesterday and calls into further question Hollande's controversial 'tax and spend' policies

By-election boost for Tories on Merseyside

Tories were boosted by a rare council by-election gain from Labour in the first contests of the new year.

12-year-old boy found criminally responsible for murdering neo-Nazi father

Joseph Hall was just 10 years-old when he shot and killed his white supremacist father

Ranks of the Socialist Workers Party are split over handling of rape allegation

Trotskyist group exonerated official because it doesn’t believe in ‘bourgeois court system’ to deliver justice

Hugo Chavez is suffering from a respiratory infection

Unrest brews as swearing-in for Hugo Chavez delayed

The Supreme Court of Venezuela announced tonight that a government decision to postpone the inauguration of Hugo Chavez for a fourth term as President was legal and that his swearing-in could take place later.

Jérôme Cahuzac welcomed news of the investigation

French tax-the-rich minister 'hid money in Swiss bank'

The French minister responsible for enforcing new taxes on the rich is to be investigated for tax evasion.

Pope Benedict appears willing to forge alliances with other faiths over same-sex marriages

Pope: gay marriage threatens foundations of family life and destroys the 'very essence of the human creature'

Pope Benedict has used the beginning of the Christmas period to ramp up his assault on gay marriage, stating that the very foundations of the family were threatened by same sex partnerships.

Julie Waterson: Inspirational socialist and political activist

Julie Waterson, who has died after a long and painful fight against cancer, was an outstanding representative of a generation of fine and dedicated activists who became revolutionary socialists in the late 1970s. Inspired by the game-changing impact of 1968, which brought together a strong anti-Stalinism with a revived workers' movement across Europe, she quickly became a resolute and utterly committed fighter for her class.

David Cameron puts his case to the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, in Brussels yesterday

'Europe isn't à la carte' – Hollande sounds warning to dent Cameron hopes for repatriation of powers

Prime Minister met with strong French objections over campaign to win new deal on opt-outs

Speculation had grown during his three-week absence from public view

Chavez names successor as he admits cancer has returned

Venezuela's President, Hugo Chavez, was due to return to Cuba today for more surgery after a recurrence of cancer led him to name a successor for the first time, in a sign the disease may force an end to his 14-year rule.

Newly-elected President of the right-wing UMP opposition party, Jean-Francois Cope(l), who beat former Prime Minister, Francois Fillon (r) in a shambolic battle to lead France's right-wing opposition.

Sarkozy steps in to stabilise dispute between French centre-right rivals

After two weeks of fraternal menaces, insults and accusations, peace appears to be breaking out on the French centre-right.

Hugo Chávez (left) said on television that Maria Lourdes Afinui’s (right) should get 30 years

Judge who upset Chávez claims she was raped in prison

The trial of Maria Afiuni, who has been in detention for three years, could begin today

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MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

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Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

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Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

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In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

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'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

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Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

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