Vivian Cummins (left) and Erney Breytenbach. Their foster child Jason (not his real name), arrived when he was a five-year-old, after the couple had been together for 10 years. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

The No campaigners stepped up a gear this week with pretty, full-colour posters about surrogacy, showing a little girl and the catchline: She needs he(...)

The prosecutor said Lacey Spears used her son’s condition to “self-aggrandize herself” and that her actions directly led to the boy’s “tortured death.” Photograph: Westchester County District Attorney’s Office

An American woman who wrote a blog about motherhood has been sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for murdering her 5-year-old son through salt poi(...)

A file picture taken in March 2006 shows (left-right) Billy Powell, Bob Burns and Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd following their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during a Ceremony in New York. Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Robert Burns Jr, the founding drummer of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the southern US rock band known for the power ballad Free Bird and the anthem Sweet Home Alab(...)

 Anthony Ray Hinton wipes away tears outside of the Jefferson County Jail upon his release after serving almost 30 years  death row, in Birmingham, Alabama, USA. Photograph: Bob Farley/EPA.

An Alabama man who for years insisted that he had been wrongly convicted of murder, and questioned the forensic evidence that helped send him to death(...)

Protesters demonstrate  across the road from  the police department in Ferguson, Missouri, on March 12th, the same day that two police officers were shot in the town. Photograph: Jim Young/Reuters

Racial anger bubbled over again in Ferguson, the troubled Missouri town plagued by violence since August, when two police officers were injured in a s(...)

An Alabama agency has closed an investigation into whether Harper Lee was manipulated into the publication of a second novel. Photograph: Getty

An Alabama agency has closed an investigation into whether Harper Lee, the 88-year-old author of To Kill a Mockingbird, was manipulated into the publi(...)

Pulitzer Prize winner and writer of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, Harper Lee. News that a rediscovered book by the author is to be published by HarperCollins has divided opinion in her home town of Monroeville, Alabama. A state investigation into whether Lee had sufficient mental awareness to approve the new book’s publication is taking place. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The doubts arose almost immediately when HarperCollins announced last month that it would release a rediscovered book by Harper Lee: Did Lee – 88, pub(...)

Oscar winners (left to right): Best Actor in a Supporting Role JK Simmons, Best Actress in a Supporting Role Patricia Arquette, Actress in a Leading Role Julianne Moore and Actor in a Leading Role Eddie Redmayne, in the press room of the 87th Academy Awards held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles. Photograph: Ian West/PA Wire 2:50

Alejandro G Iñárritu’s Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), a dizzying tale of Broadway composed as if shot in one continuous take, has wo(...)

Bryan Stevenson, who founded and runs the Equal Justice Initiative, outside the former courthouse where the 1910 lynching of Allen Brooks, a black man, began in Dallas. Photograph: Brandon Thibodeaux/New York Times

In February 1919, Pte William Little, an African-American veteran of the first World War, returned to his hometown of Blakely, Georgia, in the America(...)

The US Supreme Court on Monday refused a request by Alabama’s attorney general to keep same-sex marriages in the state on hold. Vin Testa, a supporter of same-sex marriage, waves a rainbow colored flag outside the US Supreme Court in 2013. Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Same-sex couples began marrying in Alabama despite an attempt by the conservative chief justice of the state’s supreme court to block judges from is(...)