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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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam