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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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

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Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering