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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