Student

Matthew Wood, on a year abroad at the University of Alabama, discusses what life is like today in one of the major battlegrounds of the 60s

28 killed as storms ravage US

Powerful storms stretching from the US Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes in the north wrecked two small towns and killed at least 28 people as the system tore roofs off schools and homes and damaged a maximum-security prison. It was the second deadly tornado outbreak this week.

Louisiana Red: Blues singer and guitarist who found fame at Montreux

Popular music may be a young person's game but from time to time older performers come tonational attention long after what might be regarded as their sell-by date. Gordon Haskell, Ted Hawkins and Seasick Steve are good examples, and so too is the blues singer and slide guitarist, Louisiana Red. He had been a journeyman musician for many years before he triumphed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1975 and soon was seen as an elder statesman of the blues.

DVD: To Kill a Mockingbird (12)

Restore your faith in humanity with this stupendous adaptation of Harper Lee's masterpiece.

The anti-Gagas: A new tribe of young female artists is going back to basics

They come from the same generation as Lady Gaga – but the young female artists on the following pages certainly don't share her love for outlandish showmanship. simmy richman meets the sisters doing it for posterity

US tornadoes kill four

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency and authorised 1,000 National Guard troops to be called up to provide support after at least two tornadoes touched down.

Deadly tornado tears through the US midwest

Search teams bathed in the harsh glow of floodlights early today picked through rubble of neighborhoods and commercial districts demolished by a tornado that killed at least 30 people in the southwestern Missouri town of Joplin.

The Secret Sisters, Bush Hall, London

Laughing and joking with the crowd, at ease on stage, you'd never guess that less than two years ago Laura and Lydia Rogers had never been on a plane, let alone performed in front of a live audience. The sibling duo, who hail from the perfectly Bible-Belt-sounding Muscle Shoals, Alabama, formed The Secret Sisters after elder sister Laura (who handles lead vocals) was spotted at an impromptu Nashville audition. Los Angeles beckoned and their self-titled debut album of sweet harmonies and country charm (recorded, in faux-1950s fashioned, without any digital equipment) was born.

Rupert Cornwell: Violent, extreme and contrary (the weather, that is)

Out of America: The larger-than-life meteorology of the US – its twisters, floods, and droughts – mirrors the nation

Queen 'appalled' by US storm deaths

The Queen has expressed "deep sympathy" for the families and friends of people killed in the storms that have hit Alabama and the southern United States.

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Garage, London

Jason Isbell strides onstage and apologises for the slimmed-down nature of his band, trimmed from five to three for his current tour. "We're not so much the 400 Unit tonight as the Jason Isbell power trio," he admits, but nobody's complaining: Alabama blue-eyed soulster Isbell has the burly, no-nonsense look of someone who can take care of himself pretty well. Besides which, he's one of the few guitarists for whom the phrase "power trio" doesn't portend endless indulgence, but rather an attention to texture and rhythm that plugs any holes in the arrangements.

Tornadoes leave US communities devastated

Thousands of people still reeling from the second-deadliest day of tornadoes in US history surveyed scenes of devastation across the South yesterday as they prepared to mourn the hundreds killed with a day of sombre church services. All told, at least 342 people died across seven states, including 250 in Alabama. Thousands more were injured. Alberta City, a neighbourhood in Tuscaloosa, Alabama was flattened by the tornadoes.

Twister season is the deadliest since 1925

With emergency services knocked out or worked to breaking point, volunteers bring vital supplies to those left stranded across the southern states

Obama tours areas wrecked by twisters

Barack Obama yesterday toured parts of Alabama devastated by a string of tornadoes that have killed nearly 300 people.

Obama to visit scene of deadly tornados

President Barack Obama planned today to tour parts of Alabama that were devastated by an outbreak of tornados that killed nearly 300 people in the U.S. South, as survivors tried to recover what was left of their belongings.

250 die in one day as twisters rampage from Texas to Virginia

Search-and-rescue teams were last night hunting for survivors beneath fallen masonry and tangled joists, power lines and fallen trees in towns and hamlets across seven states in the south-eastern US which were ravaged by the worst outbreak of tornadoes seen in almost four decades. Almost 250 people are known to have died.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

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Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there