Joe Rey, a grower at 3D Cannabis Center in Denver, Colorado, waters marijuana plants at the company facility last night. Proprietors of the first marijuana retailers licensed to sell pot for recreational use in Colorado were busy rolling joints and stocking shelves with their leafy merchandise  ahead of the New Year’s Day grand opening that marks a new chapter in America’s drug culture. Photograph: Rick Wilking/Reuters

The world’s first state-licensed marijuana retailers legally permitted to sell pot for recreational use to the general public opened for business in (...)

A hand out still image made available yesterday by  Channel 4 and which  was taken from a two-minute video broadcast on Christmas Day showing   Edward Snowden on the channel’s alternative Christmas message. Photograph: EPA

A federal judge has ruled that a National Security Agency program that collects records of millions of Americans’ phone calls is lawful, calling it a (...)

An advertisement thanking NSA leaker Edward Snowden appears on the side of a Metrobus in downtown Washington, last month. Photograph: EPA/Jim Lo Scalzo

The National Security Agency is tracking the location and movements of hundreds of millions of mobile phones outside the United States in an effort t(...)

The National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Maryland. The agency has secretly circumvented or cracked much of the digital scrambling that protects global commerce, e-mails, phone calls, medical records and web searches, according to newly disclosed documents. Photograph: Government handout via The New York Times

The National Security Agency routinely violated court-ordered privacy protections between 2006 and 2009 by examining phone numbers without sufficient (...)

Bradley Manning is escorted by military police as he arrives for sentencing at Fort Meade, Maryland, yesterday. Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Rallies in support of Bradley Manning – including a march to the White House – were organised in several American cities last night in reaction to the(...)

Google was one of the companies that met with US president Barack Obama to discuss the surveillance programmes. Photograph: Mike Blake/Reuters

US president Barack Obama announced plans today to limit sweeping US government surveillance programmes that have come under criticism since leaks by (...)

Florida free: a demonstration supporting Trayvon Martin in Los Angeles, California. Photograph: Jonathan Alcorn/Reuters

In 2010, Marissa Alexander, a 31-year-old mother of three, fired a warning shot to scare off her abusive husband during a row at her home, in Florida,(...)

Michael Knaapen (left) and his husband John Becker, both of Wisconsin, react to the ruling at the US Supreme Court. The court recognised that married gay men and women are eligible for federal benefits and paved the way for same-sex marriage in California. Photograph: James Lawler Duggan/Reuters

The US Supreme Court today handed a significant victory to gay rights advocates by recognising that married gay men and women are eligible for federal(...)

Microsoft and Twitter have joined calls by Google and Facebook to be able to publish more detail about how many secret requests they receive to hand o(...)

US president Barack Obama pauses while speaking in San José, California yesterday. The president defended his government’s secret surveillance, saying Congress has repeatedly authorised the collection of US phone records and US internet use. Photograph: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

US president Barack Obama has defended top-secret US spying operations to collect information on phone calls of Americans and the internet activity of(...)

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