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

Sorry, Sir Peter, but things are getting better for theatre

Hall's charge that the Arts Council is provoking the end of many small theatres is scandalous

Poetic Licence: Counting Sheep

Culture Secretary Chris Smith has waded in on the side of One Man And His Dog fans. The row over the BBC's decision to axe the programme after 23 years looks set to escalate this week, after Mr Smith spoke out in support of the programme on Radio Four's Any Questions.

Parliament: No way to treat a dog, say MPs

TELEVISION

Smith defends TV dog show

THE ROW over the BBC's decision to axe One Man and His Dog is set to intensify this week after the Secretary of State for Media, Sport and Culture described the decision as "a big mistake".

Six councils warned their libraries are sub-standard

CHRIS SMITH, the Secretary of State for Culture, has admitted that some libraries are under threat. Yesterday he wrote to 21 local councils demanding that they improve their library services and has threatened six with a full investigation by his department.

Interview: Chris Smith - Just plain old Mr Smith

The Deborah Ross Interview: He likes the odd meal out and costume dramas on telly. He's brilliantly unflashy. Yet he's a national treasure

Letter: Misery bridge

Misery bridge

Licence fee for TV to be pounds 101

BROADCASTING

Leading article: An efficiency drive that misses the point

A MUSEUM director was astonished when he attended a meeting with the Prime Minister and the Arts Minister to find that the only word used as an aim was "efficiency".

pounds 10m takes heat off Royal Opera

A HEFTY Arts Council grant increase for the Royal Opera House is to be announced on Thursday, incensing rival organisations. But it may go some way to persuading financial backers and disillusioned artistic talent that the future of Covent Garden is not so bleak.

Focus: Resisting everything except temptation

In the week of the unveiling of a statue of Oscar Wilde, other events were a reminder that the Naughty Nineties applies as much to London's Soho today as it did 100 years ago

BBC told to get act together

THE BBC defended its role yesterday as executives spelt out their vision for the millennium in a document, "The BBC Beyond 2000", which Chris Smith, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, had asked the corporation to prepare.

Parliament:Questions and Answers

Lords backed

Punters to get a seat on new lottery board

CONSUMERs ARE to be represented on the commission in charge of the National Lottery for the first time, in an attempt to improve public confidence in the running of the draw, writes Rachel Sylvester.

We now go over to ITN for the news at 6.30

ITV WAS given the go-ahead yesterday to abolish its flagship news programme, News at Ten, bringing to an end the bulletin's 31-year history and its status as a national institution.
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Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness