Republican race faces possible shake-up after Gingrich withdrawal whispers

The race for the Republican nomination could be on the cusp of a shake-up with aides to Newt Gingrich whispering for the first time that he needs to win in two southern states voting next week or face leaving the field.

Burmese pythons, descendants of abandoned pets, are thriving in Florida's Everglades by devouring the native wildlife

Rupert Cornwell: Mass invasion of the alien swamp monsters

Out of America: The US loves movies about bizarre creatures wreaking havoc. Now it's got them for real

Louisiana prepares for 20 inches of rain as Lee storms in

Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Lee were falling in southern Louisiana and pelting the US Gulf Coast yesterday as the storm's centre trudged slowly towards land, where businesses were already beginning to suffer on what would normally be a bustling holiday weekend. With floods from the storms of last weekend's Hurricane Irene still evident in New England, Lee could bring up to 20 inches of rain to some areas.

David 'Honeyboy' Edwards: Delta bluesman who played with Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson

David "Honeyboy" Edwards was, almost certainly, the last surviving link with the "Golden Age" of the Delta blues. A friend and associate of many of the genre's seminal figures, including the great Robert Johnson, he was a performer of versatility, integrity and power who continued to hold audiences in his thrall into his tenth decade.

The Golden Apples, By Eudora Welty

Golden, delicious, and plenty to chew on

Book Of A Lifetime: Native Son, By Richard Wright

The American author Richard Wright is most famous for this one book. It was his first novel, and on its publication in 1940, it became one of the fastest-selling novels in American literary history: a remarkable feat for a 32-two-year old, largely self-educated, man from Mississippi. It would be fair to say that it changed his life forever. He went on to write many other books, both fiction and non-fiction, but at the time of his death, at the young age of 52 in 1960, many of the obituary notices made reference to Wright as the author of just this one book, 'Native Son'.

King of the road: John Walsh marks Bob Dylan's 70th birthday with a trip down Highway 61

Bob Dylan turns 70 this week – and the road that inspired one of his best-loved albums remains as seductive as ever for those drawn to the heartland of American music: the Deep South

Waters still rising on the Mississippi

A US Army engineer inspects sandbags on the banks of the Mississippi river in Natchez yesterday, where cargo was slowly moving along the flooded river after a costly daylong standstill.

Flooding hinders shipping on the Mississippi

Cargo was slowly moving along the bloated Mississippi River after a costly daylong standstill, while officials kept an eye on the lower Delta where thousands of acres of farmland could be swamped by water that is inching closer to the top of a levee.

Picture of the Day: Once this was all fields... The Mississippi floodgates open

Over the next few days, water spewing through a Mississippi River floodgate will crawl through the swamps of Louisiana's Cajun country, chasing people to higher ground while leaving much of the land under 10 to 20 feet of water.

Key Mississippi floodgate opened

Over the next few days, water spewing through a Mississippi River floodgate will crawl through the swamps of Louisiana's Cajun country, chasing people and animals to higher ground while leaving much of the land under 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 meters) of brown muck.

Cajun country to be Mississippi flood scarifice

Army engineers will open a key spillway along the bulging Mississippi River as early as today, deluging thousands of homes and farms in Louisiana's Cajun country in order to avert a potentially bigger disaster in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

The worst is yet to come from the mighty Mississippi

The flood is expected to crest next Thursday at Vicksburg, where the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers meet, at a level easily higher than in the Great Flood of 1927

John Walsh: Mississippi rising, or the end of time?

I spent last week with a river lapping at my feet. I was in America's sublime Deep South, researching a story about music; from Memphis, Tennessee to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I drove through a thousand miles of Mississippi, the poorest state in the Union, and everywhere we went, the river came too. It wasn't just a conversation topic; it was the only topic – the river and how much it might inundate the homes of its inhabitants with its greasy, muddy, cold, brown presence.

Video: Mississippi flood devastation

The bulging Mississippi River has rolled into the fertile Mississippi Delta, threatening to destroy cotton, rice and corn fields.

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