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.

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Day In a Page

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
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn