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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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Minoan Crete and Santorini
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War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future
Berlusconi's world of sleaze: The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM

Berlusconi's world of sleaze

The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM
Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

Films and theme parks are just the beginning. Disney believes its control of the now decades-old franchise can bring in merchandise and marketing millions for years to come
Could the golden age of the gaming arcade ever be revived in the era of the Xbox?

Could gaming arcades be revived?

The days when coin-ops were the only way to play the latest video games are gone. But a small band of enthusiasts are keeping the button-pushing dream alive
Edinburgh Fringe 2015: The 'tampon tax' has inspired a new wave of female comedians to reclaim period jokes

Heard the one about menstruation?

Yes, if you have been at the Fringe, where period pieces are taking centre stage