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.

BP oil spill hitting all gulf states

Tar balls found on a Texas beach were confirmed as the first evidence that gushing crude oil from the Deepwater Horizon well had reached all the Gulf states.

Failing schools 'should be closed and pupils moved elsewhere'

Children in failing schools would do better if the schools were closed and their pupils moved elsewhere, research suggests.

Tom Mendelsohn: Can the power of prayer fix the Gulf spill?

That’s what the Louisiana State Senate believes, anyway.

US prepares for the worst after best hope of oil solution falls apart

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill is the worst environmental catastrophe that the US has ever faced, the White House conceded yesterday, as it warned Americans to be prepared for oil and gas to keep leaking into the ocean for almost three more months.

BP plays its final card to stop leak: sludge

David Usborne reports from the Houston command centre masterminding efforts to prevent an ecological catastrophe

The black hole at the bottom of the Gulf

No one seems to know the extent of the BP disaster

Picture of the day: The one that got away

A tricolored heron is photographed attempting to catch a tiny fish from the clean waters off the southern tip of the Louisiana coast, 75 miles south of New Orleans.

BP to try new fix as oil spill threatens Gulf

Energy giant BP was preparing today to once again try and staunch the unchecked flow of oil from a ruptured well that threatens an environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Robot tries to thin oil at source of leak

A remote-controlled submarine shot a chemical dispersant into a massive undersea oil leak yesterday. Crews using the deep-sea robot attempted to thin the oil – which is rushing up from the seabed at a pace of about 210,000 gallons per day – after getting approval from the Environmental Protection Agency, a spokesman for BP said. The agency had halted two previous rounds of the dispersant to test its potential impact on the environment.

Dome fails to stop Louisiana oil leak

BP engineers were yesterday desperately exploring options to control oil gushing from a ruptured Gulf of Mexico well after a setback with a huge containment dome fueled fears of a prolonged environmental disaster.

US Coast Guard sets fire to giant oil slick as it nears Louisiana

The US Coast Guard set fire to parts of a growing oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico last night in a desperate effort to keep it from reaching shore and hopefully avert an ecological calamity.

Oil pollution fears after blazing rig sinks

A crew member from an oil platform that sank off the Louisiana coast last night reported an initial explosion three hours before the rig went up in flames in a second, larger explosion, the Coast Guard said.

Bobby Charles: Songwriter who composed 'See You Later, Alligator'

Although Bobby Charles could neither read nor write music, nor play an instrument, he was a fine songwriter, writing the hit songs "See You Later, Alligator" (Bill Haley), "Walking to New Orleans" (Fats Domino) and "(I Don't Know Why) But I Do" (Clarence "Frogman" Henry). Keen to live in seclusion around the Louisiana swamps, he never promoted his own career, but a highly regarded album, Bobby Charles, with Dr. John and members of the Band, was released in 1972. His attitude to songwriting was simple: "When they come, they come."

Dale Hawkins: Singer, songwriter and guitarist best known for his seminal Fifties hit 'Susie-Q'

As with "Bo Diddley", "What'd I Say" and "Johnny B. Goode", Dale Hawkins' 1957 record, "Susie-Q" contained an explosive riff which became one of the cornerstones of the new rock'n'roll music. It is still familiar, and it could be argued that John Fogerty wrote several variations for Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Leading article: Bowled over

The Super Bowl has always been the quintessence of modern Americana: the glitz, the hype, the ludicrously expensive commercials, the half-time rock'n'roll and the strange sport which only North Americans take seriously.

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Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

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Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

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Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

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The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

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Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?