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The Met Office issued an amber warning of rain for the Somerset Levels, where villages have now been dubbed ‘islands’

Invisible Ink: No 132 - Marghanita Laski

Church halls are great friends of forgotten authors. A rootle in the used-book stacks of St Giles-without-Cripplegate in London brought me to this novelist, journalist and panellist, born to a family of prominent Jewish intellectuals in Manchester in October 1915.

Ian Bell (left) is watched by England team-mate Matt Prior yesterday

County Championship round-up: Clear as a Bell that England batsman is in sparkling form

Seven of the last 12 days of scheduled cricket here have been complete washouts, so in a summer of gratitude for small mercies, the 65 overs of play which were possible before another band of rain arrived were much appreciated, not least for the pleasure provided by another eminently watchable innings from England's in-form batsman Ian Bell.

Rain set to cause severe disruption

Britain was braced for severe disruption today with up to a month's rain set to fall in 24 hours.

Government responds to 'no strategy' claims in missing migrants row

The Government today insisted it had clear strategy to identify and remove people who fail to leave the UK when their visas run out, despite a damning report which revealed that the Home Office has no idea where 150,000 potential migrants are.

Womad Festival

Sorted for cream teas and kids

The Cotswolds boasts a glut of genteel festivals – and the Chipping Norton Set are big fans

PC Simon Harwood in court with his wife Helen

Pc Simon Harwood claims Ian Tomlinson was 'almost inviting physical confrontation'

A police officer accused of fatally injuring an unemployed man during protests in central London claimed that the victim was “almost inviting physical confrontation” before he was struck with a baton and shoved to the ground, a court heard today.

Isle of Wight Festival revellers forced to sleep in cars

Hundreds of revellers have been forced to sleep in their cars after traffic became gridlocked when the Isle of Wight Festival site turned into a mudbath caused by heavy rains.

Pc Simon Harwood 'was making an example' of Ian Tomlinson

The police officer accused of killing Ian Tomlinson was "making an example of him" when he struck him with a baton and pushed him to the ground, a court heard today.

Hosepipe bans to be lifted at last ... but floods are set to stay

Millions see the end of the 'drought' as yet another severe weather warning is issued

Matt Prior arrives for a training session at Lord's yesterday

England wicketkeeper Matt Prior passed fit for third Test against West Indies

Matt Prior has been passed fit to keep wicket for England in the third Test against West Indies at Edgbaston today.

Judge halts Travellers 'slavery' case

The jury in the trial of two Travellers accused of enslaving vulnerable men was discharged yesterday.

Emmanuelle Savarit puts her message across at the pizzeria Romana, South Kensington

French to elect first 'Kensington MP'

Across the UK, a general election campaign is beginning to gather pace. It may have gone unnoticed but, be assured, canvassing is in full swing; supporters are going door-to-door and the candidates are engaging in political tête-à-têtes at the hustings.

Emmanuelle Savarit puts her message across at the pizzeria Romana, South Kensington

France's sixth biggest city* goes to the polls (*that's London, by the way)

The English capital has more Gallic residents than Calais and Lille combined. And next month expats in the stronghold of South Kensington will have a big say in who is returned as the first French overseas MP

Where most royalists will raise a toast...

Is Hertfordshire the most patriotic place in the country?

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...