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.

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
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Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
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Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn