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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Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin