Rupert Cornwell: Merry Christmas for the President (believe it or not)

Out of America: After the mid-term rout, Obama looked down and out – but a run of successes has changed the game

Johann Hari: The under-appreciated heroes of 2010

The endless whirr of 24/7 corporate news ignores the people who actually make a difference

Hague welcomes US signing of nuclear treaty

Britain today welcomed the ratification of a US-Russian nuclear arms control treaty by the American Senate and urged Moscow to follow suit.

Obama gets his way on gay troops and nuclear treaty

Barack Obama had double cause for cheer as he celebrated a burst of accomplishment which included the Senate ratification of a nuclear-arms treaty with Russia and congressional repeal of the ban on gays serving openly in the military.

Obama signs bill ending ban on gays in US military

Declaring that members of the US military will no longer be asked to lie, President Barack Obama fulfilled a campaign promise today and signed a landmark law repealing the ban on gay men and women serving openly in the armed services.

Obama closes in on nuclear treaty

President Barack Obama's strategic nuclear arms treaty with Russia secured enough votes on Tuesday to clear a Republican procedural hurdle and appeared headed toward ratification in the US Senate this week.

Senators urged to back Russia treaty

President Barack Obama lobbied senators by phone yesterday to back an arms treaty with Russia that he has called a national security imperative, as a top Senate Democrat conceded "house-by-house combat" would be needed to win enough Republican votes to prevail.

David Usborne: Look beyond this vote and Congress is little changed

Has a new era of enlightenment descended on Capitol Hill? In just a few days, furiously debated bills to extend tax cuts and finally abolish sexuality discrimination in the military have been passed with almost heady bipartisan co-operation. Barack Obama is signing laws more quickly than Christmas cards.

Chavez 'would expel US ambassador'

Tension flared between the US and Venezuela over Washington's nominee for ambassador on Saturday. President Hugo Chavez warned the diplomat would be detained and put on the next flight home if he sets foot in the country.

Joy as 'Don't ask, don't tell' policy repealed

After 17 years and 14,000 expulsions, US Senate finally rejects controversial ruling

US Senate lifts gay soldier ban

The Senate voted to end the 17-year ban on openly gay troops, overturning the Clinton-era policy known as "don't ask, don't tell."

Executed in haste, exonerated at leisure

Dakota Indian among victims of mass execution may be pardoned

Silvio Berlusconi: A leader who has eroded Italian democracy

The reign of il Cavaliere hangs in the balance. The Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, faces a vote of no confidence in the Italian Senate and lower house today. The vote has been prompted by the defection of Mr Berlusconi's one-time ally, Gianfranco Fini, from the governing centre-right coalition.

Berlusconi: getting rid of me would risk financial meltdown

Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi yesterday warned parliamentary rebels that they risked plunging the country into financial meltdown should they vote down his government in today's no-confidence motion.

President Obama in Bush-era tax cuts climbdown

US president Barack Obama brushed aside opposition in his own party today and announced an agreement with Republicans on a plan to extend expiring income tax cuts for all Americans, renew jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed and grant a one-year reduction in payroll taxes.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
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people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
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Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
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Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?