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

The secret history of Michelle Obama

Family tree suggests an ancestor was raped by white slave owner

Barry Beckett: Musician who helped form the Muscles Shoals Rhythm Section

The record producer and keyboard player Barry Beckett was involved in many classic singles and albums from the 1960s to the 1990s in a variety of genres but especially rhythm'n'blues, Southern soul, rock and country music. Starting out as a session musician at Rick Hall's FAME studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama in 1967, he teamed up with drummer David Hawkins, bassist David Hood and rhythm guitarist Jimmy Johnson to form the Muscles Shoals Rhythm Section and recorded with Aretha Franklin, Clarence Carter, Candi Staton, Percy Sledge, Otis Rush and Arthur Conley.

How we saw off Brüno

Murray Echols was a 75-year-old Alabama pensioner innocently indulging his passion for ballroom dancing. Then along came Sacha Baron Cohen and his film crew ...

Guilty of manslaughter – man who drowned wife on their honeymoon

Newlywed died while diving at Great Barrier Reef / Victim's family furious at one-year prison term for killer

Album: Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, (Lightning Rod)

The strangely fruited tree on the cover gives a clue: this is southern rock rich in the mythology and ambiguous morality of its region.

US captain held by Somali pirates is freed

US cargo ship captain Richard Phillips has been freed from captivity at the hands of Somali pirates in a dramatic ending to a five-day standoff with American naval forces, the US Navy said today.

Might of the US Navy circles pirate kidnappers

Warships deployed to try to save sailor held by Somalis after attack on cargo vessel

11 dead in Alabama shooting spree

Authorities grappled today for the reason a 27-year-old Alabama man shot dead 10 people, including his mother, before killing himself after a gun battle with police and a car chase down a rural highway.

Ernie Ashworth: Country singer and member of the 'Grand Ole Opry'

A long-time member of Nashville's Grand Ole Opry country music radio show, the singer Ernie Ashworth was best known for his 1963 chart-topper, "Talk Back Trembling Lips". Written by the veteran songwriter John D. Loudermilk, it spent over 30 weeks in the charts and remains one of the most enduring country hits of its era.

Father threw children off bridge

A man accused of throwing his four young children to their deaths from an Alabama bridge unexpectedly pleaded guilty, telling a judge he wanted to be put to death.

Candi Staton, Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

'You're looking at the genuine article tonight," Candi Staton politely boasts before her rich, honey-tinged voice caresses the Elvis Presley hit "Suspicious Minds". The 65-year-old country-soul diva refuses to belt out songs, and has no time for the vocal gymnastics of an X Factor automaton or even for the brassiness of, say, her near contemporary Tina Turner. Staton's exquisite voice is a sweeter, more vulnerable, instrument and her act is a tender, more soothing experience. It's little wonder that the dance act The Source used her comforting timbre for the 1991 chill-out tune "You Got the Love". The dance anthem provides a cosy embrace at the end of the night and evokes a euphoric response here, particularly from a gaggle of suited gentlemen of a certain age.

Arlo Guthrie, 100 Club, London

This dude can still cut the mustard

US freezes as Arctic air blasts in from Canada

America is not unfamiliar with low temperatures, but the present cold snap is exceptional by any standards

Fugitive pilot caught after apparent suicide bid

With his world crumbling around him, investment adviser Marcus Schrenker opted for a bailout. However, his plan to escape personal turmoil was short-lived.

Obama's first power play: College football leagues

They're corrupt and over-complicated – but if the President-elect thinks he can shake-up America's college football leagues, he's picking a fight he can't win. Rupert Cornwell on a multi-billion-dollar minefield
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Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders