David Usborne: The hobbits have had a gun to Boehner's head from the start

The Tea Party and the 80-odd freshman Republicans it helped send to Congress last November had a good reason to celebrate last night with something with bubbles in it rather than milk and sugar. Yet such is their zeal for constraining government it was barely able to savour victory even when handed it by "cave-in" Barack Obama.

Politicians to vote on last-minute debt deal

Congressional leaders scrambled for enough support from skeptical lawmakers to push through an 11th-hour deal to raise the US borrowing limit and avert a potentially devastating debt default.

US leaders edge towards debt deal as clock ticks to default deadline

Obama forced to make concessions in bid to prevent money running out

Senate scrabbles for a solution to US debt crisis as deadline looms

Time is running out for the warring factions to find a compromise that will avert a devastating default

US Senate blocks latest Republican debt plan

US lawmakers, facing a potentially calamitous government default in just days, held votes that highlighted their intense partisan divide and did little to end a torturous political standoff.

Time is running out for debt deal, says Obama

With four days remaining until the United States hits its debt limit, US President Barack Obama told deeply divided Republicans and Democrats to stop bickering and find a way "out of this mess."

Who's the fairest of them all? Capitol Hill picks its beauties

Relief from the debt-ceiling blues has arrived with the release of this year's "Top 50 Most Beautiful" by The Hill, the Washington political newspaper.

White House hits out at Republicans over debt crisis

A frustrated White House said Republicans on Capitol Hill were guilty of "crazy" and "juvenile" political posturing as they prepared to push through a bill designed ostensibly to end America's debt crisis, but only for six months. It would guarantee a replay of the stand-off at the end of this year.

US debt plan fears hit world markets

The US House votes tonight on a plan to avert an American default, but conservatives in the Republican-dominated lower chamber, Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama were all lined up against the measure.

As the final deadline gets closer, the parties move further apart

High anxiety over a possible default by the United States on its mountainous debt was undiminished last night, amid further wrangling on Capitol Hill on a possible way out of the crisis, with Republicans still pitted against Democrats and even against each other.

US budget stand-off hits shares

The US Congress remained dangerously split today in the face of an unprecedented American default on its debt in just six days, as Republicans clashed with Democrats - and with each other - over raising the federal cap on borrowing.

Edwards told he must pay for illegal affairs

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) approved a final audit yesterday that concludes former US presidential candidate John Edwards's campaign owes the government more than $2m.

Caught in the Net: Willing submissions to censorship

The latest track to emerge from Stephen Malkmus's new album, Mirror Traffic – produced by Beck, made with the Jicks – ahead of its 22 August release is the upbeat jaunt "Senator".

No deal yet over US default as deadline looms

An immediate deal to prevent the United States from falling into a devastating default remained out of reach today as political factions - congressional Republicans, Democrats and President Barack Obama - remained unable to overcome differences on spending and taxes.

Juan Maria Bordaberry: Uruguayan politician whose concessions to the military led to a 30-year sentence for human rights abuses

Although he was the elected civilian president of Uruguay in the 1970s, Juan María Bordaberry bowed to pressure from the military and agreed to what South Americans call an autogolpe, a self-imposed coup d'état against his own government, turning himself overnight into a dictator. On 27 June 1973, citing the threat of "Marxist subversives," notably the country's Tupamaro guerrillas, he dissolved the legislature, declared all political parties illegal and gave the military greater powers to lock up, torture and even murder leftist opponents. His model, he said, was a franquista system, based on that of General Francisco Franco in Spain.

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