Ashes 2013-14: England cricket captain Alastair Cook apologised to fans after 5-0 series whitewash

Cook's side were bowled out for 166 in their second innings to confirm a 281-run win for their rivals

Happy days: Steve McClaren has accentuated the positive in lifting Derby County into promotion contention

Steve McClaren on road to repairing his reputation at Derby County

Rams manager is regarded more as a messiah of the East Midlands than the 'wally with a brolly' of his England days

UK weather: Britain faces another barrage of rain as coastal regions count cost of 'worst storms in 20 years'

Two dead, a teenager missing, damage to homes and businesses, transport disrupted. And it isn't over. More rain, high tides and gale-force winds are on the way

All white: There has been fresh snow on the pistes at Tignes

Snow report: New year snowfall proves welcome in the Alps

It was a snowy start to the New Year in Europe, especially in many French and Italian resorts where more than 20cm has fallen and more is on the way. Fresh powder skiing is also on offer in North America.

England coach Andy Flower (L) and captain Alastair Cook (R) look set to continue in their roles despite coming under-fire for the dismal Ashes series performance

Ashes 2013-14: Alastair Cook and Andy Flower to remain as captain and coach respectively

The ECB chief executive David Collier has given his backing to the under-fire pair

Nick Griffin, leader of the BNP which opponents say has suffered a split

'Free from financial worries': BNP leader Nick Griffin declared bankrupt

News means he was having 'a good day'

Biggest house-price leap in four years sparks affordability worry

Nationwide warns affordability may become 'stretched' if demand continues to outstrip supply

England all-rounder Ben Stokes took six wickets on day one of the fifth and final Ashes Test

Ashes 2013-14: Six-wicket haul doesn't beat Perth century for England's star man Ben Stokes

Stokes finished the Australia first innings with figures of 6-99 as he shone where England struggled once more

John Biffen’s withering verdict on Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet meetings: 'Miserably disappointing' gatherings full of 'unctuous self-satisfaction'

Cabinet meetings under Margaret Thatcher were “miserably disappointing” gatherings devoid of debate and filled with “unctuous self-satisfaction”, one her most senior ministers said in 1984.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is unveiled as the new manager of Cardiff City

New Cardiff City boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer denies Sir Alex Ferguson warned him against taking job

Solskjaer sat alongside controversial owner Vincent Tan during yesterday's 2-0 defeat and has been named as Malky Mackay's replacement following his sacking last month

'NHS 111 is now a stable and improving service and we are confident it will continue to get better'

Botched launch of 111 helpline could cost NHS an extra £5.5m

The chief operating officer at NHS England said the service is 'now stable and improving, and we are confident it will continue to get better'

It Goes With the Territory: Memoirs of a Poet, By Elaine Feinstein: Book review

A vivid evocation of a life dedicated to poetry and writing

The most expensive and the cheapest home sales in England and Wales

Latest official figures also show a sharp drop in home repossessions

Martin and Sean McKinney dodge a wave at Saltcoats Harbour in Saltcoats, Scotland.

Flood warning: why the long-term forecast for homeowners is so alarming

With no end to the rain in sight, we report on why inadequate defences and lax building laws will put thousands of people at risk

A sign sits in flood water on a road in southern England.

UK weather: four children rescued by helicopter in Scotland as storms are forecast to bring in the new year

The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for rain on New Year's Day in areas including western Scotland and southern England

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Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
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A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
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Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
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Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
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Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
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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
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Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
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Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape