Arts and Entertainment What a racket: Conor Woodman in 'Scam City'

It's not just that the National Geographic documentary series Scam City is a pointless programme, it's that it's also a uniquely irritating one. Whereas most consumer watchdogs investigate scams at the instigation of aggrieved parties, in Scam City presenter Conor Woodman, travels the world looking for trouble and – what's more pitiful – often fails to find it.

JONATHAN FRANZEN: The American writer says Twitter is an ‘irresponsible medium’

Twitter hits back after Franzen rant

The novelist Jonathan Franzen has called Twitter an "irresponsible medium" which has become the enemy of writers and readers.

Louisiana Red: Blues singer and guitarist who found fame at Montreux

Popular music may be a young person's game but from time to time older performers come tonational attention long after what might be regarded as their sell-by date. Gordon Haskell, Ted Hawkins and Seasick Steve are good examples, and so too is the blues singer and slide guitarist, Louisiana Red. He had been a journeyman musician for many years before he triumphed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1975 and soon was seen as an elder statesman of the blues.

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burning after last year's explosion in the Gulf of Mexico

BP starts court fight over Gulf of Mexico oil spill

BP will start one of the biggest fights in its 104-year history next week as the US Government sues the oil giant for the devastation caused by the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

DVD: Welcome to the Rileys (15)

Before the Twilight series engulfed her, Kristen Stewart was shaping up to be an interesting actress and she's convincing here as Mallory, a 16-year-old New Orleans prostitute in Jake Scott's low-key drama.

BP sues cement firm Halliburton over spill costs

Oil giant BP has fired the latest shots in a legal battle over the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, claiming contractor Halliburton should pay all of its billions of pounds of costs.

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burning after last year's explosion in the Gulf of Mexico

Halliburton 'destroyed disaster evidence', says BP

BP is accusing Halliburton of destroying damaging evidence about the quality of its cement that went into the Deepwater Horizon well that exploded, killing 11 people and causing America's worst offshore oil spill.

Rex Features

Givers, XOYO, London

Afro-pop folk band Givers don't have a slogan, but if they did it would be "It's nice to be nice". The singers, Taylor Guarisco and Tiffany Lamson perform with the emphatic smiles of drama school children in panto. Their music is uplifting; to watch them is like watching happy Muppets dancing around, on ecstasy. They're aggressively happy – they bounce, and wiggle and gyrate and smile a lot. They even use the break between songs to tell us how much they love London ("I love that you drive on the left here. I really do," says Lamson).

BP nears end of clean-up from Gulf oil disaster

BP will no longer have to clean up oil on the Gulf Coast unless officials can prove it is from last year's Deepwater Horizon spill, according to a plan approved by the US Coast Guard.

Louisiana prepares for 20 inches of rain as Lee storms in

Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Lee were falling in southern Louisiana and pelting the US Gulf Coast yesterday as the storm's centre trudged slowly towards land, where businesses were already beginning to suffer on what would normally be a bustling holiday weekend. With floods from the storms of last weekend's Hurricane Irene still evident in New England, Lee could bring up to 20 inches of rain to some areas.

A Day That Shook The World: Hurricane Katrina lays waste to New Orleans

On 28 August 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the American city of New Orleans with the force of a nuclear explosion.

Last Weekend: Bridgwater boy who helped Britannia rule

Rio and New Orleans may not quite quake in their fancy boots at the assertion by this Somerset market town that it is the "Home of Carnival". Nevertheless, I arrived last weekend for the first time to Bridgwater's tidy little station to find a touch of the exotic: not the model-railway shop on Platform 2, but the Pythonesque portraits on the opposite side of the tracks, part of a project called "Trains of Thought".

Album: Mama Rosin / Hipbone Slim and the Knee Tremblers, Louisiana Sun (Voodoo Rhythm)

My favourite Swiss-Cajun punk rockers have got together with a London garage rockabilly trio to make an agreeably gritty hybrid which has few of the flaws that exercises in musical genetic engineering are prone to.

Album: The Lil' Band of Gold, The Promised Land (Room 609)

Dreadful name. Mind you, so is Susan and we know that it is Susan's content which makes her beautiful.

Album: The Lil' Band O' Gold, The Promised Land: A Swamp Pop Journey (Room 609)

The Louisiana swamp-pop scene is one of the most distinctive local tributaries into the great river of US popular music.

Flooding hinders shipping on the Mississippi

Cargo was slowly moving along the bloated Mississippi River after a costly daylong standstill, while officials kept an eye on the lower Delta where thousands of acres of farmland could be swamped by water that is inching closer to the top of a levee.

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
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footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
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voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
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Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
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Cameron Jerome
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine