Arts and Entertainment What a racket: Conor Woodman in 'Scam City'

It's not just that the National Geographic documentary series Scam City is a pointless programme, it's that it's also a uniquely irritating one. Whereas most consumer watchdogs investigate scams at the instigation of aggrieved parties, in Scam City presenter Conor Woodman, travels the world looking for trouble and – what's more pitiful – often fails to find it.

BP accuses Halliburton over Gulf spill

In a high-stakes court filing, BP has accused Halliburton of destroying evidence that could be used to show it was partially to blame for the notorious Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burning after last year's explosion in the Gulf of Mexico

Halliburton 'destroyed disaster evidence', says BP

BP is accusing Halliburton of destroying damaging evidence about the quality of its cement that went into the Deepwater Horizon well that exploded, killing 11 people and causing America's worst offshore oil spill.

Album: Zomby, Nothing (4AD)

The rapid follow-up to this summer's evocative Dedication is markedly different in intent, a much lighter affair lacking the somewhat sombre, haunted mood of that valedictory album.

A Day That Shook The World: Hurricane Katrina lays waste to New Orleans

On 28 August 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the American city of New Orleans with the force of a nuclear explosion.

Officers guilty over shootings that shamed New Orleans

In a dramatic act of delayed justice, a jury in New Orleans last night delivered guilty verdicts against five former and current officers of the city's police department stemming from the infamous Danziger Bridge shootings that came six days after Hurricane Katrina as well as the elaborate cover-up that followed.

Irma Thomas, Barbican, London

As is the way with R&B royalty, the Soul Queen Of New Orleans is heralded by her band's loosener, a muscular "Superstition" that gets the crowd primed for some fatback funk. But when she is announced, Irma Thomas is nowhere to be seen, her voice appearing to float down from heaven. She finally appears, led gingerly up the steps stage left, microphone in hand, her voice astonishingly clear for one now into her eighth decade.

Policeman 'fired at wounded men' in aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

A policeman sprayed gunfire at wounded, unarmed people and repeatedly stamped on a dying man on a bridge in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, a court heard.

Album: The Lil' Band O' Gold, The Promised Land: A Swamp Pop Journey (Room 609)

The Louisiana swamp-pop scene is one of the most distinctive local tributaries into the great river of US popular music.

Album: Jim White, Sounds of the Americans (Loose)

Composed as musical accompani-ment for an experimental theatre production based on the works of Sam Shepard, Sounds of the Americans is an understandably patchy, heterogeneous work, with jazz-guitar instrumentals, New Orleans brass band arrangements and a jaunty country number expressing pride in the renovation of a classic American car.

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.

Hugh Laurie: On the road with an unlikely blues legend

It's all Mrs Hare's fault. When he was a nipper in a comfortable Oxford household, an Eton boy and the youngest son of a GP, Hugh Laurie was told to learn the classical horn. He lasted three weeks. Mrs Hare's efforts to teach him the instrument came to naught. But she did leave one lasting impression on young Laurie: one day, flipping to page 26 in the book of sheet music, she came across "Swanee River". "Negro spiritual, slightly syncopated," she said drily to her pupil.

Video: US prepares for record floods

Floodgates are opened near to New Orleans to divert record high Mississippi River flow.

Album: Hugh Laurie, Let Them Talk (Warner Bros)

Usually, actors' albums should be avoided as carefully as pop stars' movies; but Hugh Laurie's New Orleans tribute Let Them Talk may be the exception that proves the rule.

Years in jail for murder he didn't commit: 18. Compensation: $0.00

He spent 18 years in a Louisiana prison for a murder he did not commit, coming within weeks of being executed. Yet the US Supreme Court has thrown out a jury verdict awarding John Thompson $14m (£8.75m) in compensation.

Album: Marianne Faithfull, Horses and High Heels (Dramatico/Naïve)

For this latest of their collaborations, producer Hal Willner has surrounded Marianne Faithfull with some great New Orleans musicians, and got her covering a few Crescent City soul numbers. But it's not territory she occupies comfortably: she doesn't have the abandon to animate Joe & Ann's "Gee Baby", and her delivery of Allen Toussaint's "Back in Baby's Arms" is painfully stilted. She's much better reciting the Shangri-Las' "Past, Present and Future" over a melodramatic arrangement of harp, strings and woodwind, and her "Goin' Back" has an arthritic grace that suits the song well. Of her own material, the title-track comprises observations from her Irish and Parisian homes, while "Eternity" finds her trying to "live within the space that's moving all the time... touching the divine", over a blend of Doobie-esque rhythm guitar and sampled Jojouka reeds.

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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

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Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

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Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

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A shot in the dark

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New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

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Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
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From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

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Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

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Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

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Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

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Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam