News David Cameron visited East Anglia at the times of the floods to see the damage and meet members of the local emergency services

Repairing or improving flood defences is so expensive that areas of countryside which are still under water could be deserted, says Environment Agency

Dolphins: Spy in the Pod, BBC1 - TV review

The second episode of nature documentary Dolphins: Spy in the Pod (BBC1) was like the visual equivalent of one of those "Sounds of the Ocean" CDs that insomniacs use to drift off. Nothing but calm blue seas as far as the eye can see, and the soothing Scots coo of narrator David Tennant. Well, that and the dolphins, of course.

The site of the rock arch at Porthcothan Bay before (L) and after it was destroyed by the recent storms

Storms destroy Porthcothan Bay rock arch formation at Cornwall beach

The landmark arches have been demolished by high tides and 70mph winds

Best of 2014: Books

Arifa Akbar picks this year’s must-read book releases

Down to the Sea in Ships, By Horatio Clare: Book review - excellent look at ocean-bound trade and exploitation

chances are that you have spent the past two weeks wrapping, unwrapping and wolfing down the stuff brought to you by people like the cheerful rating whom Horatio Clare calls "N".

Women carry offerings at a ceremony honoring Iemanja, Goddess of the Sea, as part of traditional New Year's celebrations on the sands of Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro
Coast Guard Captain Gregorio De Falco, right, arrives at the Grosseto court - the court was told hundreds of people were still aboard the shipwrecked Costa Concordia when the commander abandoned the cruise liner in a lifeboat

Costa Concordia captain Francesco Schettino 'fled packed ship', court told

'You saved yourself, but I will make a lot of trouble for you,' Coast Official told the captain after he left the ship

UK weather: People urged to remain vigilant as high tides and strong winds continue through the night

Houses been swept into the sea over night as the biggest tidal surge in 60 years hit the east coast. The Environment Agency has urged people to remain vigilant as the high tides continue through the night

Quade Cooper was at his mercurial best for Australia against Wales in Cardiff

Quade Cooper and Aussies show World Cup class in abundance

It remains nothing more than a dot on the rugby horizon – the 2015 World Cup, that is – and pretty much anything could happen in the 664 days between here and there. The club-versus-union conflict could send the whole of the European game into meltdown (perfectly possible); New Zealand could hit a bad patch (it has to happen sometime, surely); the Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie could decide that his predecessor was right all along and chuck Quade Cooper out on his ear (barely conceivable on latest evidence, admittedly).

Book Review: Offshore, By Penelope Fitzgerald

Perhaps a surprise Booker Prize winner in 1979, Fitzgerald’s novel might seem slightly out of date now with regards to its popular culture references, but its focus on the alternative families we create when our biological ones just won’t do is still relevant.

In his image from the European Space Agency ESA, research satellite GOCE flies above earth

GOCE 'space Ferrari' satellite safely re-enters Earth's atmosphere

The satellite has been in operation since March 2009, with its re-entry planned for by scientists and described as only a "small fraction" of annual pace debris

One-tonne satellite hurtling towards earth - but don't panic just yet

Debris from the European Space Agency spacecraft is most likely to fall harmlessly in oceans

Book review: The Profligate Son, by Nicola Phillips

A wealthy gentleman’s son, William Jackson (1791-1828), went seriously to the bad. His short life was one long round of drink, women, and debt – which meant debtors’ prisons and then transportation to Australia where, despite considerable luck, he eventually died, drunk and alone, on a Sydney street aged 38.

Review - Coolie Woman: The Odyssey of Indenture, By Gaiutra Bahadur. Hurst £20

The plantations of the British Empire around the world faced a serious problem in the 19th century after the abolitionists succeeded in outlawing the slave trade. Where would the labourers come from? India's vast population offered hope. But British public opinion would not tolerate a repetition of slavery.

People affected by Cyclone Phailin wait to be rescued and receive relief supplies in the Balasore district of the eastern Indian state of Odisha

Cyclone Phailin survivors still await rescue as aid workers warn a million will need help

A mass evacuation saved thousands of people from India’s fiercest cyclone in 14 years, but aid workers warned a million would need help after their homes and livelihoods were destroyed.

Sachin Tendulkar holds the record for one-day international caps and centuries

Sachin Tendulkar to retire from international cricket later this year after playing 200th Test for India

The multi-record holding batsman is to call time on his first class career at international level

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee