News Debris washed up by flood water in Moorland, where 40 square miles of the Somerset Levels remain underwater

Officials were told 12 months ago that rivers posed a serious risk but failed to take any action

Letter: Funding the BBC

Sir: Over the coming weeks, the Government will decide its response to the Davies Report on the funding of the BBC. It is a critical moment not just for the BBC, but for the future of broadcasting in this country.

Parliament: Braodcasting: Select committee urges Smith to stop BBC licence surcharge

THE BBC reacted with dismay, and commercial broadcasters with delight, when the Culture, Media and Sport select committee opposed the corporation's desired levy on digital television viewers.

What about a little democracy in the arts?

`The man in charge of the country's arts doesn't actually fund a single theatre or gallery'

Labour to ditch free museums promise

THE GOVERNMENT'S promise of universal free admission to the nation's galleries and museums is to be dropped.

Leading Article: An artless response

UNIVERSAL free admission to the national galleries and museums was one of the few absolute commitments to the arts this Government made. Now it is backing down. It hasn't got the money. More important, it hasn't got the will. Chris Smith, the Culture Secretary, is a good man with instincts many in the arts community applaud. But the signs are that he is not going to win the battle with his colleagues for the cash required to fulfil the pledge.

Cheapest seats at Opera House `doubled in price'

DOUBTS ARE being cast on the Royal Opera House's boast that it has reduced ticket prices for its reopening as "the people's opera".

Letter: Whose heritage?

Sir: I was disappointed that the article by Fran Abrams, "Britain is losing art to wealthy foreigners" (1 December), seemed to imply that the Heritage Lottery Fund was responsible for the "heritage crisis" described in the annual report of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art.

Football: Wembley Fiasco: Wembley remains centre-piece of World Cup bid

THE FOOTBALL Association last night moved to dismiss fears that the chaos surrounding plans for the new pounds 475m Wembley stadium could undermine England's bid for the 2006 World Cup.

Outlook: Camelot nosedive

"CAMELOT PROFITS tumble by pounds 50 a minute". It is not quite the headline those fed on a diet of lottery fatcat scandals have come to expect. Three- quarters of the way through their seven-year franchise, the fact is the shining knights of the mid-week rollover are losing some of their sparkle. Or, as the Camelot chairman George Russell prefers to put it, the lottery's "natural lifecycle has impacted on sales".

Media: Here's shocking news: ITV did the right thing

Moving News at Ten to a later slot after 32 years attracted criticism from all sides. But it was a brave decision which has strengthened the channel's overall output, argues Melvyn Bragg

So why do you want to be a mayor, Mr Dobson?

`The selection panel will be daft, so the candidates should tell the same lies as anyone going for a job'

Letter: Not guilty ... I was there

Sir: Alan Watkins ("When it comes to World Cups, football is what interests Blair", 9 November) accuses me of not having shown any interest in the recent Rugby World Cup, nor sent any support, moral or physical, to the England squad. What rubbish.

Purge the BBC of its obsession with youth and ratings

I KNOW how Greg Dyke is going to be feeling this morning when he gets out of the chauffeur driven car at Broadcasting House and goes up to his office. It will be rather like I did that January morning back in 1988 when I negotiated my way past security and waited expectantly in the lobby of Television Centre to be told where my office was located.

Rugby World Cup: Hoppe will fight back after Kiwi Tri-Series omission

SEAN HOPPE hopes to use his stint at St Helens as a springboard to bounce back into the New Zealand team after being left out of their squad for next month's Tri-Series.

Rugby League: Smith's gaffes are grand gift to Bradford

Bradford Bulls 40 St Helens 4
Sport
Rihanna celebrates Germany's win
World Cup 2014
Sport
Sport
Luiz Felipe Scoalri holds his hands on his head after watching Brazil succumb to a 3-0 defeat to the Netherlands
Globo Esporte claims Brazil's football confederation (CBF) not renew Scolari's contract
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Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer, Alan Hansen and Gary Lineker during Hansen's final broadcast
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Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
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Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
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Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
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Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor