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

Queensland devastation draws comparisons to catastrophes of 1974 and 1955

Australia Day fell on a Saturday at the end of an already unusually wet summer in late January 1974. Brisbane's 900,000 inhabitants were dancing to Helen Reddy and the Rolling Stones. In the skies above them a moving monsoonal trough producing heavy rain was drifting further south than usual. Over the Queensland capital, it met the weakening Cyclone Wanda.

Woman killed as floods return to Australia

Flash floods swept through a north-eastern Australian community today, killing one woman, trapping others in cars and leaving some clinging to trees as relentless rains brought more misery to a region battling its worst flooding in decades.

2010 showed coldest December on record

Last month was the chilliest December in records stretching back 100 years and one of the coldest months ever recorded in the UK, the Met Office said today.

Steve Connor: East Australia forewarned by the experts who watch La Niña

A combination of heavy monsoon rain falling on already saturated ground, which has caused many rivers to burst their banks, is the straightforward explanation for the catastrophic flooding seen across vast areas of Queensland. Just before Christmas, the Australian Government's Bureau of Meteorology warned Queenslanders to prepare for heavy flooding during the holiday period, due to the heavily saturated ground and rainfall that was predicted in a range of 300mm to 600mm.

Woman swept away drowns in Australian floodwaters

A woman drowned after trying to cross a flooded causeway in Australia, becoming the first victim of relentless flooding that one official has described as reaching "biblical proportions," police said.

Coldest December for 120 years

The past month was Britain's coldest December for 120 years, meteorologists said yesterday.

Weather apps: Cool and clear (but rather windy in places)

The British obsession with the weather means there are now hundreds of apps that promise to deliver the forecast straight to our phones. But how many are just hot air?

Court move to halt Boxing Day Tube strike

London Underground is taking legal action in a bid to prevent a Boxing Day strike by Tube drivers going ahead, it was announced today.

Leading article: The cold offers no comfort on climate change

Climate scientists frequently point out that the weather and the climate are not the same thing. Indeed, they often sum up the difference by saying that the climate is what we expect and the weather it what we get. The climate operates over long periods, often too long for us to remember with any accuracy without the help of good-quality records. The weather, meanwhile, is very much the here and now and is, as a result, at the forefront of our minds, which is the case now.

Around world, thermometers point to 2010 being hottest year yet

It may be snowing hard in Britain, but 2010 is on course to be the hottest year ever recorded for the world, figures released by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) indicated yesterday.

Whatever the weather: Why the seasons always blow hot and cold in Delhi

If there's one aspect of the Indian weather that most people have heard about, it's the monsoon rains that drench parts of southern Asia between June and September.

Clean-up under way in flood-hit Cornwall

A major clean-up was under way today as flood-battered Cornwall recovered from devastating torrential rain.

Cameron pledges aid for flood-hit Cornwall

David Cameron today promised flood-battered Cornwall as much help as it needs getting back on its feet.

Book of Clouds, By Chloe Aridjis

Chloe Aridjis's novel opens with a haunting vignette. The narrator, Tatiana, a young Mexican woman living in contemporary Berlin, describes the time she saw Hitler riding the U-Bahn. He was, she recalls, disguised as an old lady, an "incognito hag" travelling the city with a coterie of plain clothes guards. Her story, with its air of absurdity and quiet menace, seems deliberately to echo the moment in WG Sebald's great novel Vertigo, when the peripatetic protagonist, on a bus in central Europe, encounters a pair of identical twins who bear an uncanny resemblance to Franz Kafka.

Why the Big Apple blows hot and cold

Whatever the weather
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

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Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star