News

Kansas state sues Marotta for $6,000 in child support for four-year-old girl

Violent storms hit middle America after tornadoes

A line of violent thunderstorms roared across middle America, killing six people in two states, with several tornadoes touching down in Oklahoma and high winds pounding rural Kansas.

Rupert Cornwell: The mother who blazed a trail for Obama's career

Out of America: Stanley Ann Dunham was, as the title of a new biography attests, a very singular woman

Leading article: Krypton factor

It is no wonder that reports that Superman is considering renouncing his US citizenship are causing consternation across the Atlantic. He might have been born on Krypton, but Superman, more than any other superhero, has always exuded Americana. Were he not invulnerable, the man of steel would probably bleed red, white and blue.

Wes Santee: US runner who came agonisingly close to breaking the four-minute-mile barrier

If, in early 1954, you had made a book on the first runner to break the four-minute barrier, the American Wes Santee, who has died aged 78 from cancer, might have received shorter odds than either Australia's John Landy or Britain's Roger Bannister. Santee was ranked second in the world at both 800 and 1500 metres, with a fast finishing kick. Bannister, of course, got there first, running 3:59.4 on 6 May 1954, and Landy lowered the mark to 3:58 in June. But while Bannister's record attempt at Oxford was structured carefully, with "rabbits" pacemaking him through each lap, Santee was competing for Kansas University, in meets where he typically ran both 880 yards and the mile, and anchored the 4x440 relay. When told of Bannister's feat, Santee was "not exceptionally disappointed", claiming he would be satisfied to become the first American through the barrier, and that he could, anyway, beat Bannister in a race.

Earliest basketball rules fetch £2.7m

Two american basketball fans have paid more than $4.3m (£2.7m) for the faded and soiled original rules of basketball, which were drawn up by the sport's founder, James Naismith, more than a century ago.

Album: Jim Sullivan, UFO (Light In The Attic)

There are those "lost" albums that are probably best left that way, and then there are gems such as this.

Joan Smith: Furious stunts make faith look foolish

Until last week, the university city of Gainesville, Florida, wasn't much talked about outside its home state. Students of US history may recall the Gainesville Eight, a group of anti-Vietnam war protesters who were acquitted on charges of breaking up the Republican convention in 1972; these days the city (population 125,000) has its first gay mayor, suggesting that it doesn't easily fit stereotypes about the American South.

Album: Best Coast, Crazy for You (Wichita)

Any album which opens with a line as simple, and fundamental to what rock'n'roll is about, as "I wish he was my boyfriend" is on the right tracks, and Best Coast never falter thereafter.

Speech pattern can give early clue to autism

Children with autism may in future be diagnosed by the way they talk and parents may be able to measure their progress by monitoring their speech. Scientists have discovered that the condition has a "unique vocal signature" which could allow affected children to be identified before they show obvious symptoms.

DVD: Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang (U)

Did we need a sequel to Emma Thompson's nanny caper? Mary Poppins didn't even get one and it was a spoonful of sugar more inventive than this.

Album: Janelle Monae, The ArchAndroid (Bad Boy/Atlantic)

An artist to make Gaga curse her own abject banality, 24-year-old Kansas girl Monae has found her way to Oz.

Album: Jimmy Webb, Just Across the River (E1 Music/RSK Entertainment)

The aim with the duets retrospective Just Across The River is to emphasise Webb's contribution to the Americana traditions of folk and country, which means the voluptuous cabaret pleasures of "McArthur Park" and "Up, Up And Away" are sacrificed in favour of the rustic mythopoeicising of "The Highwayman" and "Oklahoma Nights", the latter tinted with pedal steel and speckled with banjo; along with a nod to the Sixties' singer-songwriter tradition in the form of Webb and Jackson Browne's duetting on "P.F. Sloan", a tribute to the man who wrote "Eve Of Destruction".

Album: Kele, The Boxer (Wichita)

The Bloc Party is over but Kele comes out fighting

Dennis Hopper: Hollywood actor, director and oft-married hell-raiser who rose to fame with 'Easy Rider'

Dennis Hopper will be best remembered as the director and star of one of Hollywood's most influential films, Easy Rider (1969), which defined a generation of 'hippie' culture and attitude, the film's hallucinogenic imagery backed by a driving rock soundtrack.

Four dead after Oklahoma tornado outbreak

Four people were killed yesterday in an outbreak of violent weather that dropped tornadoes across Oklahoma, tossing cars off highways and flipping mobile homes, officials said.

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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
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone