Right-wing ideologues blamed as US risks government shutdown

The last fraught hours of budget negotiations between party leaders in Washington to avert a partial shutdown of the US federal government were being hijacked yesterday at the last minute by Republican demands for new restrictions on legal abortions for women, Democrats claimed.

Berlusconi's senators try to bring fascism back to Italian politics

A group of Italian senators is pressing for a decades-old ban on Benito Mussolini's Fascist party to be lifted in a move that has provoked fierce condemnation from political opponents and Jewish leaders.

The heart of a capital city beats in Turin

This place likes to fuss over anniversaries of the unification of Italy. This year, the 150th, is no different. Adrian Mourby reports

A year on, Obama's healthcare reforms are still a work in progress

Just as Rome wasn't built in a day, that monumental piece of policy architecture – US healthcare reform – is only gradually being turned into bricks and mortar and Americans still aren't sure what to make of it.

Wisconsin Republicans 'exercise nuclear option' to pass union-busting law

The political tumult in Wisconsin reached full tilt yesterday as the state legislature prepared to give final approval to a controversial law stripping nearly all collective bargaining rights from public sector workers and dealing a potentially crippling blow to organised labour groups.

Senator fights to switch off bright lights of Vegas sex trade

What happens in Vegas... could be about to get a tiny bit more respectable. Heated debate has broken out among the good citizens of Nevada after their best-known lawmaker, Senator Harry Reid, called for an end to the free-wheeling libertarianism that has made it the only place in America where prostitution is legal.

Ted Kennedy's 'night in a Chilean brothel' is revealed FBI files

A young Ted Kennedy arranged to rent a brothel for a night while visiting Chile in 1961, a year before he was elected to the US Senate, according to a newly released FBI file.

Victor's Crown, by David Potter

What earthly relevance can ancient Greece, Rome and Byzantium have to today's sports fan?

'Psy-ops' team accused of targeting US senators

The top United States commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, has ordered an investigation into allegations that members of a psychological-operations team – known as psy-ops – were ordered to target American Senators and other dignitaries visiting the country to help to persuade them to provide new troops and money.

Students may carry guns on campus in Texas

Texas is preparing to give college students and staff the right to carry guns on campus. More than half of the Texas House of Representatives have signed a measure allowing concealed handguns at universities.

Republican Senator reveals abuse as a child

The Republican US Senator who shook the American political landscape just over one year ago by snatching the US Senate seat in Massachusetts that had been held for decades by the late Ted Kennedy, reveals in a new memoir that he was molested as a child while at summer camp and got into trouble for shop-lifting.

Kerry pushes for US gunman's release

Senator John Kerry was in Islamabad yesterday to push for the release of Raymond Davis, an American consulate employee facing charges over two killings.

Obama to set out painful budget plans for austerity in America

Americans are about to get a first glimpse of what tight-fisted federal government looks like with President Barack Obama releasing an austerity-tinged draft budget this morning even as Republicans move to push through a short-term spending plan featuring a far more radical range of spending cuts.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future