BP boss hands over control of Gulf crisis

Under-fire BP boss Tony Hayward today handed over day-to-day control of the Gulf of Mexico crisis as the oil giant set up a new division to manage the spill.

BP says oil spill costs have reached $2 billion

BP PLC said today that its partners in the leaking Gulf of Mexico oil well must share responsibility for the costs in dealing with the disaster, on which BP said it has now spent $2 billion.



Nature Studies by Michael McCarthy: The tragic loss of British wildlife

Some truths are never voiced because they are virtually impossible to perceive. For example, I have never heard anyone declare how appallingly impoverished Britain's wildlife is. That's not the subject of a national debate (although it ought to be). That's not even a national perception. In fact, I don't know if it's anybody's perception. But it's no less than the truth.

Oil slick to spread along coastline

Oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico could threaten the Mississippi and Alabama coasts this week, US forecasters said yesterday, as public anger surged over the country's worst environmental disaster.

Rupert Cornwell: Why Harper Lee is likely to miss her own party

Out of America: 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is 50, its author reclusive

Oil spill clean-up cost soars to £523m

Under-pressure oil group BP said the cost of cleaning up the mammoth spill in the Gulf of Mexico had hit around 760 million US dollars (£523 million) so far.

Picture of the day: The one that got away

A tricolored heron is photographed attempting to catch a tiny fish from the clean waters off the southern tip of the Louisiana coast, 75 miles south of New Orleans.

Oil leak greater than first estimates, BP admits

BP admitted yesterday that considerably more oil could be spurting from its crippled well in the Gulf of Mexico than the 5,000 barrels a day that it had initially estimated.

Barry Hannah: Eclectic writer whose work penetrated the heart of the American psyche

I live in so many centuries. Everybody is still alive," remarks the narrator of Ray (1980), one of eight novels by Barry Hannah, who himself showed a similar spirit, perhaps most notably in the short stories from which some of those novels sprang.

They wait for oil. But the sea brings death instead

Kitchen sink gloves at the ready, Jackye Carroll, 62, patrolled the white-sand beach of Pass Christian yesterday looking for any sign of animal distress from the oil slick lurking over the horizon. Her vigilance soon paid off, though she was hardly pleased: a dead loggerhead turtle by the edge of the surf.

Ten dead after tornado and storms hit US South

Rescuers combed neighborhoods of splintered homes in Mississippi, ferrying the injured on all-terrain vehicles where roads were impassable after a devastating tornado sliced through the state and killed at least 10 people, including three children.

Delta Blues, By Ted Gioia

The fertile mud of the Mississippi delta has bred not only a "strange, wonderful music" that changed the way our planet sings and hears; it also yields book after book that find fresh variations on the world-spanning story of the blues.

Court backs lesbian student in prom dispute

A US school district violated a lesbian student's rights by banning her from bringing her girlfriend to the prom, a federal judge ruled, but he stopped short of forcing the district to hold the event.

American Football: Favre makes final push for a fairy-tale ending

Evergreen Minnesota quarterback looks to cap his third coming by taking Vikings to the Super Bowl, writes Robin Scott-Elliot

Plea for Woods to end 'circus' before return

One of Tiger Woods' peers has called upon the disgraced golfer to make his first public appearance before he steps foot on a golf course.

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Actor Burt Reynolds last year
peopleBurt Reynolds, once among the most bankable actors in Hollywood, is set to auction his memorabilia
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The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game