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Rick Perry, suddenly the front-runner in the Republican nomination stakes, last month described Washington as a "seedy place" he didn't care for.

Texans refuse to beef about Oprah's slur

OPRAH WINFREY, the empress of TV talk shows, was described last year by Life magazine as the most powerful woman in America. She has a couple of challengers now in Hillary Clinton and Monica Lewinsky but neither possesses anything like the influence over the hearts and minds of American women that la Winfrey does.

No mercy for killer

A woman on death row had her bid to stay her execution rejected by a court in Texas last night.

Perils and pitfalls that await the unwary on the World Wide Web

If, after much tweaking of wires and banging of keys, you've finally got the computer you bought for Christmas connected to the Internet, congratulations - your problems are just beginning. Charles Arthur, Science Editor, on what to beware when you're surfing.

Preview: listen butch hancock

Cults do not get much more cultish than Butch Hancock. Unjustly a complete unknown to the vast majority of the music-buying public, Butch Hancock is a hero to students of "alternative country". Having started out alongside Joe Ely and Jimmie Dale Gilmore in the legendary Flatlanders in the 1970s, he went on to carve out an idiosyncratic solo career while pursuing his other interests, including photography, art and leading river- raft trips - pushing out tapes on his own Rainlight label. With unique takes on politics and life, such as "Talkin' About That Panama Canal" and "Smokin' In The Rain" taking their place alongside songs such as "West Texas Waltz" and "If You Were a Bluebird" that have been made - relatively - famous by Ely, much of this material now appears on two compilations. But as with the Austin, Texas scene's other oddball multi-talented genius, Terry Allen, Hancock has an independent attitude worthy of somebody often seen as the Lone Star State's answer to Dylan and has therefore enjoyed a career more stop-go than his devoted fans would like. Tuesday, however, sees a rare London appearance at The Weavers, and a new album, "You Coulda Walked Around The World", is imminent, too.

Obituary: James Michener

James Albert Michener, writer: born New York 3 October 1907; married 1935 Patti Koon (marriage dissolved 1948), 1948 Vange Nord (marriaged dissolved 1955), 1955 Mari Yoriko Sabusawa (died 1994); died Austin, Texas 17 October 1997.

Interview: Young, screwed up? His films are made for you

Richard Linklater is a rarity, and a flaming brilliant one. His films are about restless, troubled and troublesome kids - people he respects. After `Slacker' and `Dazed and Confused' he's headed for the yet meaner streets of `SubUrbia'. Ryan Gilbey is glad to go with him.

From masking tape to cable

The inventor of Post-It notes is playing for big stakes in fibre optics, writes Roger Trapp

Straight down the middle: a formula for success

After concentrating on personal consumers and big corporations, computer companies are going after the middle market. Roger Trapp talks to two direct suppliers about their strategies

US colleges fear turning colour blind

As the academic year draws to an end on campuses across the United States, there is a growing - and slightly shocked - recognition that an era is also coming to a close. Affirmative action, the policy that discriminated in favour of applicants from ethnic minority groups, is being abolished in two of America's largest state university systems, and the effect has startled friends and enemies of the policy alike.

Texas tornadoes kill 32

Central Texas was trying to pick itself up yesterday after suffering a string of powerful tornadoes on Tuesday that left at least 32 people dead and wide swaths of devastation.

Texas, Royal Albert Hall, London

Ignored since the late 1980s everywhere except the far-flung corners of independent local radio, Texas continued to exist long after their record company was expected to put them out of their misery. It was solely the infectious slide guitar of their first single, "I Don't Want a Lover", that fuelled them through the fallow period that was the rest of their career. Until now.

Texas siege continues

A group of 13 besieged Texas secessionists broke off negotiations last night, just as the authorities thought they were close to a surrender.

Pop: South by Southwest '97 Austin, Texas

Forget New York and LA, the laid-back Texan city of Austin is the live music capital of the USA, and each March it goes into aural overdrive with the South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival - the biggest music industry gathering in the country. The 11th SXSW held last week brought a circus of around 6,000 industry movers and journalists to the city to see some 800 acts playing at over 40 different venues.

The rock critic with the bus pass and ear plugs

It is 1.20am at the Atomic Cafe, and a mega-decibel rock band called Iodine is in full roar. A few dozen fans line the black-painted walls, their heads thrashing with the music. But sitting on the floor right up front, just feet from the blast of the amplifiers, is a small old lady. Incredibly, she has fallen asleep.

The sheep that shook the world

Dolly the clone is the story of the decade, maybe even the century. Why? Because she embodies our greatest fears and hopes, says Peter Popham
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Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?