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Luhman 16B is the nearest brown dwarf to Earth, and the third nearest star system to our solar system

The cloud atlas

They're the most beautiful things that we barely even notice. A new book aims to fix that by finding the most spectacular images in the Met Office archives.

April's heat will not last – May will be showery

This April has been the hottest since records began, and the fourth sunniest April in the past 100 years. However, as is often the case with the UK's unpredictable climate, the good weather will not last for long. Meteorologists say the fine weather this month will be followed by a showery May.

Sale's grand plan for northern sales push hit by unfair local competition

Club had hoped for 20,000-strong crowd at Reebok fixture – but then along came the Manchester derby

Nuclear plant evacuated as aftershock strikes

Workers were evacuated from two nuclear plants yesterday as Japan was rattled by a strong aftershock and tsunami warning.

Britain enjoys warmest day of the year

Britain enjoyed the warmest day of the year today, with forecasters predicting Mediterranean temperatures for the weekend.

Ozone layer damaged by unusually harsh winter

The stratospheric ozone layer, which shields the Earth from the Sun's harmful ultraviolet rays, has been damaged to its greatest-ever extent over the Arctic this winter.

Search for survivors hampered by radiation

The search for bodies and survivors of this month's huge earthquake and tsunami in Japan is being hampered by growing fears of radiation leaking from the stricken nuclear plant in Fukushima.

Reactor radiation reaches Europe

Fallout from Japan's damaged nuclear plant is expected to reach Europe this week, but experts say the particles will be minuscule.

Whatever the weather: Rain and snow for 190 days a year – then summer sun transforms St Petersburg

St Petersburg is situated along the shores of the Neva Bay in the Gulf of Finland; it has a continental climate, moderated somewhat by the Baltic Sea. Because of the city's northerly latitude it experiences a huge variation in daylight hours during the year, ranging from six – in midwinter – to 19 hours a day. Twilight may last all night in early summer, from mid-May to mid-July, and this celebrated time is known as the White Nights.

Nuclear reactor meltdown 'likely' says official

Japanese officials are struggling with a growing nuclear crisis and the threat of multiple meltdowns, two days after the country's north-eastern coast was savaged by a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami.

Queensland devastated again as 'savage' storm brings 190mph winds

A cyclone believed to be the most powerful ever to strike Australia battered towns and tourist centres on the north Queensland coast, with winds of 186 mph ripping buildings apart and cutting power.

UK agency had warning of flooding in Pakistan

The impact of devastating floods that tore through Pakistan last summer affecting more than 20m people and leaving more than 1,500 dead, could have been greatly reduced if information gathered by weather monitors in Europe about imminent rains had been shared with the authorities in Islamabad.

Japan volcano erupts again

A volcano in southern Japan erupted today with its biggest explosion yet, shooting out a huge plume of gas, boulders and ash and breaking windows five miles away.

Battered state braced for cyclone

A cyclone raced raced toward Australia's flood-ravaged northeast yesterday, rattling nerves in a region that has already suffered billions of dollars of damage from a months-long crisis.

Cyclone headed for Australia's flood-ravaged north

A cyclone raced toward Australia's flood-ravaged northeast, rattling nerves in a region that has already suffered billions of dollars worth of damage from a monthslong crisis.

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Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food and drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
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A Siberian Tiger
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Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
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Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
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La Roux
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Ross Burden pictured in 2002
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Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
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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
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried