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’

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system