Marijuana enthusiasts gather after midnight to celebrate the legalisation of recreational use of marijuana in Portland, Oregon. Photograph: Steve Dipaola/Reuters

Crowds counted down the minutes to midnight then lit up joints as smoking marijuana became legal in Oregon on Wednesday and the legalisation movement (...)

President of the Spokane, Washington chapter of the NAACP Rachel Dolezal. Ms Dolezal’s parents have claimed that she has been falsely portraying herself as black. Photograph: Spokane NAACP website

A civil rights leader in the US state of Washington has been falsely portraying herself as black for years, her parents have said. Rachel Dolezal (37)(...)

Tokyo Electric Power Co said there were no abnormalities at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant following the quake. Photograph: Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images

A strong earthquake with magnitude of 7.8 has been recorded off Japan. The earthquake happened off the Bonin Islands, also known as the Ogasawara Isl(...)

Shell believes Arctic production can be competitive if the reserves it finds are large enough

Oil reserves that Royal Dutch Shell hopes to find in the Arctic are unlikely to be brought into production before the 2030s because of the difficulty (...)

Greenpeace activists on the Polar Pioneer drill rig in the Pacific Ocean.  Photograph: Reuters/Vincenzo Florama/Greenpeace

Six Greenpeace activists have rappelled down from an oil rig in the Pacific Ocean after spending six days living on the structure to protest against d(...)

A pig making an effort. Happy April fool’s day. 1:21

There is a long and storied history of April’s fools day jokes. Some are brilliantly believable, others, well, perhaps less so. Below are some of o(...)

 Adi Roche with Dr Igor Polivenok, of Kharkiv General Hospital, one of the international team of ‘flying doctors’ performing life-saving operations on critically-ill children in Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine

The national surgical institute in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, grapples with the same problems as countless other hospitals across the country and(...)

DC law permits adults over the age of 21 to posses up to two ounces, 56 grams, of marijuana. Photograph: TJ Kirkpatrick/The New York Times

The District of Columbia became the first place on the US east coast to legalise recreational marijuana this week despite grave threats from congressi(...)

 Erkan Gursoy, the 68-year-old Turkish-Canadian sailor, was adopted by the Aran islanders late last year. He  has just reached his destination of Istanbul after a nine-month solo voyage from Vancouver through the Northwest Passage on a  boat he built in his back garden.

A 68-year-old Turkish-Canadian sailor who was “adopted” by the Aran Islands after being caught in a hurricane has been given a hero’s welcome in his (...)

A polar bear keeps close to her young along the Beaufort Sea coast in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska. US president Barack Obama’s proposal would be the largest designation of wilderness since the Wilderness Act in the 1960. Photograph: Susanne Miller/Reuters

A senior White House official has criticised a Republican senator from Alaska and the state’s congressional representatives for their strong disapp(...)