Online footage has shown the Chinese building, on the Fiery Cross Reef in the area, what looks like an airstrip and facilities, which the US navy calls the “Great Wall of Sand”. Photograph: United States Navy via the New York Times

China’s island-building efforts in the South China Sea have got its neighbours rattled and ratcheted up tensions in the region, but a top admiral said(...)

US president Barack Obama meets his national security and public health teams in the Roosevelt Room at the White House yesterday. Photograph:  Mark Wilson/Getty Images

1. The voters are mad as hell...but Republicans are less crazy than before. Tuesday’s heavy losses by Democrats in the Senate, the House and governors(...)

Gen Martin E Dempsey, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, described the current phase of operations against Islamic State as “extraordinarily complex”. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The US air campaign to thwart the advance of fighters from the Islamic State has been the easy part of President Barack Obama’s strategy in Iraq an(...)

UN vehicles transporting a team of experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons are pictured as they return to their hotel in Damascus today. Photograph: Khaled al-Hariri/Reuters

A team of chemical weapons experts has made “encouraging initial progress” as it works towards the elimination of Syria’s poison gas arsenal, the Unit(...)

US secretary of state John Kerry said today there is “clear” and “compelling” evidence that the Syrian government used poison gas against its citizen(...)

UN chemical weapons experts interviewed and took blood samples today from victims of last week’s apparent poison gas attack in a rebel-held suburb of (...)