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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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable