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

Chris Smith

Chris Smith

Motion calls for poetry revival

ANDREW MOTION, the newly appointed Poet Laureate, has called for poetry to be revived in Britain's schools. Mr Motion, the Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, said he was troubled by children's lack of interest.

RUGBY LEAGUE; Saints restore faith in game with emphasis on attack

St Helens 57 Warrington 20

The art of subversion is as strong as ever

IT HAS been a big week for cinema. The Cannes Film Festival has given all sorts of people who are famous for being famous - or for being related to somebody famous - the chance to do silly things in public. Notting Hill, another quirky British (although American-financed) film, has opened to acclaim - unlike the blockbusting, hyper-hyped new Star Wars film. As if that were not excitement enough, Chris Smith, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has announced a new quango, the Film Council, with a new logo, to replace all the existing committees that are supposed to subsidise, promote and assist the British film industry.

BBC World faces losses of pounds 15m

THE BBC was forced to admit multi-million pound losses for one of its commercial ventures yesterday, but insisted no public money was in jeopardy.

Letter: Dyke and the BBC

Sir: In your parliamentary Question and Answers column (11 May) you misreported the written answer given by the Culture Secretary, Chris Smith, over the director-generalship of the BBC.

Media: Diary of a culture shock

David Elstein, chief executive of C5, accompanied Chris Smith to Peking to promote British TV and culture

Rugby League: Long gives Leeds short shrift

St Helens 62 Leeds Rhinos 18

Parliament: Media: MPs attack BBC's political coverage

MPS FROM all sides accused BBC chiefs of "dumbing down" its political coverage yesterday, urging them to reverse their decision to reduce parliamentary reports on radio.

Architecture: A fresh facade for British architecture

The new president of Riba is keen to celebrate the history of buildings, and to convince us all of the importance of good design. By Nonie Niesewand

Architecture: Cities need muscle as well as heart

The Government is setting up a new body to ensure quality modern building. But, unlike its predecessor, will it have any real power?

Lottery to fund new city parks

A SCHEME to create more urban parks and playing fieldswas unveiled by the Government yesterday. The pounds 125m project, funded by the National Lottery, will benefit schools, councils and community groups, who will be able to apply for grants to transform their local landscape.

Of queers, poofs and politics

There's an ideological clash between good gay sex (think `Philadelphia' ) versus bad gay sex (think `Queer as Folk')

Rugby League: Offiah to play in spite of tragedy

MARTIN OFFIAH will play for the London Broncos this weekend, despite the death of his father who was gunned down in his native Nigeria on Monday night. George Offiah, 63, a chief magistrate in the west African country, was killed by suspected car thieves, writes Dave Hadfield.

Rugby League: Harris makes boot do work

Leeds 24 St Helens 16
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Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
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Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
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Pornography is more accessible - and harder to avoid - than ever
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The eyes have it: Kate Bush
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment