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.

France set to go back into recession

France – second biggest economy in the struggling eurozone – is set to tip back into recession by the end of the year, its central bank warned yesterday.

German prosecutors charge neo-Nazis with murders of nine minorities and a police officer

German federal prosecutors say they have charged the surviving member of small group of neo-Nazis with involvement in the murder of nine minorities and a police officer.

French newspaper commentators suggested that Mr Ayrault might be on the 'slippery slope'

Attack on the 35-hour week may mean French PM not working at all

Jean-Marc Ayrault plunges government into crisis by challenging Socialist article of faith

Portugal approves austerity budget

The new tax hikes would hit Portugal's cash-strapped population in every area

Nicolás Maduro with Hugo Chávez earlier this month

Waiting in the shadow of Hugo Chavez

Behind the ailing Socialist President is a likely successor who is even more anti-American

Politics means nothing when deficits have to be cut

It's become clear that the world will take longer than expected to recover from this financial crash. Austerity, for now, is a forced hand across the EU.

Supporters of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez celebrate in downtown Caracas

President Hugo Chavez wins re-election in Venezuela

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez promised to deepen his socialist revolution after a comfortable election victory that could extend to 20 years his polarizing leadership of the South American OPEC nation.

Arthur Scargill: Once-powerful socialist who now cuts a rather isolated figure

In the past 25 years, there has not been another trade union leader as famous as Arthur Scargill. By the mid-1980s, there was hardly an adult in the United Kingdom who could not name the president of the National Union of Mineworkers.

France's First Lady, Valérie Trierweiler, regrets a tweet that was taken as an attack against Ségolène Royal, Mr Hollande’s former partner

French First Lady's Royal mistake

The First Lady has said she regrets a tweet that was read by many as a dig against the mother of President François Hollande's four children. Valérie Trierweiler told the regional daily Ouest-France in an interview published yesterday that the tweet was a "mistake".

The best you could say about Ed's speech? He didn't completely fluff it

There was no insight on the most important issues of the day, nor did Mr Miliband say anything of any real note for those outside Westminster village

Owen Jones: Whatever happened to Labour?

What is Labour for? If you could pay a visit back to 1899, a railway signalman from Doncaster called Thomas R Steels would certainly have been able to answer. Exasperated at the lack of a political voice for working people while the wealthy had the Tories and Liberals to stand their corner, he drafted a resolution for his local union branch. It called on the Trade Union Congress to assemble a conference with the support "of all the cooperative, socialistic, trade union and other working-class organisations" to look at how it could win "a better representation of the interests of labour in the House of Commons".

Moment of truth for Hollande as government unveils €30bn of increased taxes and spending cuts

An increasingly unpopular President Francois Hollande faces a moment of truth today when his government unveils €30bn of increased taxes and spending cuts in an attempt to honour France's deficit-cutting commitments for next year.

Review Round-up: J K Rowling's The Casual Vacancy

As of 8 a.m. this morning, the most anticipated book of the year was available to read and review without the threat of walloping legal action. Hundreds of fans will be sneaking chapters on their loo-breaks. But has The Casual Vacancy cast a spell on critics?

Cornelius, Finborough Theatre, London

This J B Priestley play impressed the critics when it opened in 1935 but flopped after only a few weeks and has since sunk into near oblivion. 

French are tiring of François Hollande already, claims poll

For the first time since his election, Mr Hollande’s approval rating is below 50 per cent
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Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?