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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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football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
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travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
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Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
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Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
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The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
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3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
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The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss