Gun control, terrorism, gay rights and climate change: Obama sets out his bold battle plan for the next four years

President’s uncompromising address threw down gauntlet to the Republicans

Washington, DC skyline, George Washington Memorial Parkway

Win a fabulous 12-night holiday for two to the Capital Region USA

Take the Great American Road trip across Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC 

The President and the First Lady at the Inaugural Ball in Washington in 2009

Barack and Michelle Obama invite you to the inauguration party of the 44th President of the United States...

Stevie's going. So's Alicia – and Beyoncé. But if you want to get into the hottest event of next week's Obama inauguration, you'll need $1m...

'This is not the petition response you're looking for' - Death Star plans rejected by White House

Statement says the White House is keen to emphasise its belief in galactic peace, saying that it does not support the blowing up of other planets

Obama's new foreign affairs team: (from left) John Kerry, Secretary of State; Chuck Hagel, Defence Secretary; John Brennanm, CIA Director

All the President's men: Barack Obama names his national security team

President Obama has nominated the three men he wants in his national security team. So what do they tell us about how he sees America's place in the world?

Tough talk: The 113th congress is sworn in

America's big bucks battles only starting

Three potential deficit showdowns could send the US into default

On the rise: Hillary Clinton, left, and Dianne Feinstein, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee

US glass ceiling shows political cracks

Out of America: Women have been making inroads into positions of power on Capitol Hill, and their fortunes are at an all-time high

Travel in 2013: Holidays for culture vultures

Film locations are always compelling destinations and New Zealand, the setting for The Hobbit will come back into focus in 2013.

Poll shows US confusion over gun law reform

A fortnight after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, America's relationship to guns and the laws that regulate them remains as confused as ever.

Members of the Senate return from their holiday to tackle the fiscal cliff

Senate leader warns fiscal cliff deal unlikely

Prospects of a deal to pull the American economy back from the "fiscal cliff" appeared dimmer than ever tonight after the Democratic leader of the Senate admitted that attempts to agree an alternative to the automatic tax and spending changes due to kick in next month were likely to fail.

Barack and Michelle Obama in Hawaii on Christmas Day

Fiscal cliff crisis forces Obama to abandon Hawaii trip

With only days to go before the US goes over the “fiscal cliff”, President Obama cut short his Christmas break in Hawaii to arrive back in Washington DC in a last-ditch attempt to hammer out an alternative to the more than $600bn in looming spending cuts and tax rises.

Wayne LaPierre The NRA chief was accused of making a ‘revolting’ and ‘tone-deaf statement'

'If it's crazy to put police in schools, then call me crazy'

NRA's LaPierre unrepentant despite condemnation of his pro-gun speech

Advocates fear gun control agenda will divert Obama from immigration reform

President Barack Obama's pledge to pursue a package of gun control measures next month has immigration advocates concerned whether the effort could delay or distract the White House from moving quickly to fulfill another of his second-term priorities.

Speaker John Boehner, second from left, departs after a House Republicans meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington

'How we get there, God only knows': Vote pushes US closer to cliff’s edge

Time running out to avert damaging spending cuts and tax rises as Republicans reject Boehner’s ‘Plan B’

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
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Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download

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Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
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Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

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A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

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Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
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Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

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Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

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Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
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Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
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His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
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How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
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Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
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‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week