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
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 12 March 2015
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor