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
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there