A resident of Tabqa city touring the streets on a motorcycle waves an Islamist flag in celebration after Islamic State militants took over Tabqa air base, in nearby Raqqa city August 24, 2014. Islamic State militants stormed the air base in northeast Syria on Sunday, capturing most of it from government forces after days of fighting over the strategic location, a witness and a monitoring group said. Fighting raged inside the walls of the Tabqa air base, the Syrian army's last foothold in an area otherwise controlled by IS, which has seized large areas of Syria and Iraq. REUTERS/Stringer   (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

A few months ago few in the West had heard of Isis, the Sunni militants known at different times as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and as Islamic (...)

‘The most thoughtful comment from any leading politician came from Kentucky senator Rand Paul, a libertarian Tea Party favourite who currently leads the field of potential Republican presidential hopefuls.’  Photograph:  Scott Olson/Getty Images

The unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, following the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, has dominated media in the US fo(...)

A US flag flies in front of the Brandenburg Gate, near the US embassy in Berlin. Germany’s expulsion of the CIA station chief in Berlin is close to a diplomatic nuclear option and is unprecedented in the postwar history of German-US relations. Photograph: Adam Berry/Getty Images

A few years before he died in 2006, the former East German spy chief Markus Wolf, known as “the man without a face”, told me about the qualities he(...)

Italy’s prime minister Matteo Renzi (l) shakes hands with European Council president Herman Van Rompuy as they arrive to commemorate the centenary of the start of the first World War, in Ypres. Photograph: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters

While the slow-motion motorway pile-up of British prime minister David Cameron’s attempt to block the nomination of Jean-Claude Juncker as European Co(...)

Badge of honour: supporters of Hillary Clinton are preparing for a presidential run. Photograph: Astrid Riecken/MCT via Getty

Hillary Clinton insists that she has yet to decide if she’ll run for the presidency in 2016 but her campaign has been hard at work for months, raising(...)

Thomas Piketty: said it was unjust that homeowners with large mortgage debt should pay the same level of property tax as those who owned their homes outright. Photograph: Ed Alcock/the New York Times

The Government should make the property tax fairer by recasting it to take account of mortgage debt and financial assets, according to Thomas Piketty,(...)

French connection: Thomas Piketty. Photograph: Ed Alcock/New York Times

Since its publication in English, in March, Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century has been hailed as the most important economics bo(...)

Jackie Kennedy

For thirty years before her death in 1994, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis gave no interviews, withheld cooperation from all biographers and refused to (...)

Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen addresses a news conference  in Brussels on Wednesday.

A few weeks ago, at the height of the crisis in Ukraine, representatives of some of the biggest defence contractors in the US were munching can(...)

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with US president Barack Obama on St Patrick’s Day 2012.  The annual chorus of outrage about the St Patrick’s Day ministerial exodus has been more muted than usual this year but that hasn’t stopped the Government adopting its traditional, defensive posture. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images

If precedent is anything to go by, next Friday’s St Patrick’s Day Speaker’s lunch on Capitol Hill should be a convivial affair, as the Taoiseac(...)