Italian Senate passes key austerity package

The Italian Senate approved a crucial €70 billion ($99 billion) austerity package aimed at convincing investors that the eurozone's third-largest economy won't be swept into the debt crisis.

US politicians add to the heat on Murdoch's empire

In a dangerous development for Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, prominent United States Senators have demanded that the firm be investigated under US corruption laws over payments made to British police officers.

Rupert Cornwell: Grover Norquist: The man who is holding the US to ransom

Out of America: Crucial talks to find $4trn of savings could fail because of the influence of one anti-tax zealot

Think tank fears war over South China Sea

Growing frictions among nations bordering the South China Sea, exacerbated by the increasing assertiveness of the Chinese military, could lead to armed confrontation and even war, a leading Australian foreign policy think tank warned yesterday.

Former governor convicted of trying to sell Obama's Senate seat

Rod Blagojevich yesterday became the fourth Illinois governor in just half a century to be convicted of committing a crime, when he was found guilty on a host of corruption charges, including an attempt to sell the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama when he became President.

Leading article: A victory – but not an end to the equality battle

Gay marriage has become a defining issue in the past few years in what are often called America's "culture wars", which pit socially liberal, secular Democrats against hard-right, often highly religious Republicans. But the outcome of the gay marriage battle in New York is a reminder that America's internal splits are not as clear-cut as some believe.

New York governor signs law approving gay marriage

Governor Andrew Cuomo made same-sex marriages legal in New York yesterday, a key victory for gay rights ahead of the 2012 presidential and congressional elections.

Village People: A popular but shadowy figure

Ed Miliband's decision to end elections to the Shadow Cabinet leaves one MP with the never-to-be-equalled record of being elected to this body 14 times.

Richard Long: Human Nature, Haunch of Venison, London

The world has many mysterious stone circles. Who made them? And why? We never really know. Their mystery is part of their charm. They are symbols – but of what exactly? Now we have two more. These two have cropped up – or bedded down – in a pair of 19th-century rooms in Burlington Gardens, Mayfair, and they sit on polished parquet floors beneath coffered ceilings. These stone circles, unlike the others, are not old at all. They are by Richard Long, our most celebrated land artist. Land artists make their art in reverential partnership with nature in the raw. They use wood, stones, slate, mud. They often make it in the land itself so that it gets slightly lost, as if to tell us that it is really part of its environment. This land art in Mayfair has made the journey from outdoors to indoors.

Obama signals Afghanistan troop pull-out as new defence chief is ratified

President Obama signalled in an Oval Office address last night that America's commitment to the war in Afghanistan is on the wane and 33,000 of just under 100,000 US soldiers are to be withdrawn within 15 months.

The Sketch: Salvoes on reform bring out lordly left's conservative side

There may be new readers unfamiliar with the remark of that toriest of Tories, Lord Salisbury, so here it is again: "What do we need change for," he said. "Aren't things bad enough as they are?"

Pakistanis accused of CIA collusion over Bin Laden raid

Spy agency arrests at least five in attempt to 'shut down unauthorised US operations'

Cameron concedes that health reforms should be ripped up

David Cameron and Nick Clegg will today endorse wholesale changes to the Government's controversial health reforms, giving patients the "right to challenge" poor services for the first time and guaranteeing them a choice of doctors and treatments.

David Cameron sets out NHS reform changes

David Cameron set out the first significant changes to the Government's controversial NHS reforms today as he admitted ministers had "learnt a lot" in recent weeks.

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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

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms
What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist? Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories

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?

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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

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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

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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
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