Voices President Obama urged members of Congress to make 2014 a 'year of action' in his State of the Union address

Institutional flaws have held the President back

Inmates' Shawshank jailbreak is foiled

Guards foiled plans for a jailbreak similar to that shown in the film The Shawshank Redemption when they found a tunnel that inmates had dug, leading to a sewer.

Chavez calls TV channel to dispel rumours of death

A healthy-sounding President Hugo Chavez called Venezuelan state television from Cuba yesterday to dispel rumours fanned by a nine-day silence that he had died undergoing cancer treatment at a hospital in Havana.

Silence from Hugo Chavez fuels fears over health

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has been out of sight for a week, speaking only through Twitter messages and written statements while undergoing cancer treatment in Cuba.

Chavez with Fidel Castro in Cuba, where he has gone for cancer treatment

Chavez to focus on his fight for life, not votes

Hugo Chavez thrives on drama. After coming to power thirteen years ago, the former military officer has survived a coup, likened a US president to the devil and used a combination of charisma and oil revenues to sweep away all serious opposition. But today his raging invincibility is in doubt.

International Conductors’ Academy of the Allianz Cultural Foundation, Royal Festival Hall

A showcase for three young conductors, a malfunction at the printers, and for the first time in my experience no programmes for the audience and the prospect of blind-tasting their talents.

Pope Benedict XVI sits in Revolution Square on last night

Raul Castro greets Pop Benedict XVI in Cuba

Pope Benedict XVI arrived in Cuba in the footsteps of his more famous predecessor, gently pressing the island's long-time communist leaders to push through "legitimate" reforms their people desire.

Chavez back at work

President Hugo Chavez is back working on government affairs after undergoing an operation in Cuba.

Hugo Chavez's health could hobble his campaign for re-election

Chavez recovers after undergoing cancer surgery

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez came out of cancer surgery on Monday night in Cuba and is recovering in a hospital, sources reported yesterday.

Amerigo Vespucci was born in 1454

Paradise Lust: Jury still out on man who gave his name to America

Amerigo Vespucci remains a complex figure. By Peter Popham

Amerigo Vespucci was born in 1454

Paradise lust: the man who sexed up America

He had two continents named after himself and thrilled Europe with the salacious tales of what he saw there. But, 500 years on, can we trust Amerigo Vespucci's accounts? Peter Popham discovers the full story

President Raul Castro’s wide-ranging reforms have brought new hope to Cubans whose economic aspirations were shackled for 50 years by the US-led embargo

Younger Castro steers Cuba to a new revolution

Oil, foreign investment, free enterprise, and golf courses are on their way

Ed Miliband plans tax on bank bonuses

Getting young people into work using a tax on bankers' bonuses is a major priority for the Labour Party, leader Ed Miliband said as he launched his local election campaign.

Opponents jostle to take on Chavez

Opposition leaders will hold the nation's first primary election to choose the strongest challenger to the populist President, Hugo Chavez.

Bruno Senna

Senna name returns to Williams

Brazilian Bruno Senna has signed to drive for Williams this season. The move means the 28-year-old is joining the team for which his uncle Ayrton Senna was driving when he was killed in 1994.

Antonio Vazquez, Mexico's self-styled 'Grand Warlock,' predicts that the Barack Obama will fail to regain the White House

Mexican Warlock spells end for Obama

Antonio Vazquez, Mexico's self-styled "Grand Warlock", has made his annual new year forecasts, including the prediction that the US President Barack Obama will fail to regain the White House.

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Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor