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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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?