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Poignant letter is filled with words of encouragement for her 22-year-old self

John Walsh: Mississippi rising, or the end of time?

I spent last week with a river lapping at my feet. I was in America's sublime Deep South, researching a story about music; from Memphis, Tennessee to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I drove through a thousand miles of Mississippi, the poorest state in the Union, and everywhere we went, the river came too. It wasn't just a conversation topic; it was the only topic – the river and how much it might inundate the homes of its inhabitants with its greasy, muddy, cold, brown presence.

Residents flee ahead of Mississippi floods

Residents of Memphis have begun to abandoning low-lying homes as the dangerously surging Mississippi River threatens to crest in coming days just shy of a 48.7ft record set by a devastating flood in 1937.

Album: Toy Horses, Toy Horses (Albino Sparrow)

Toy Horses are the Welsh stepson/stepfather duo of Adam Franklin (21) and Tom Williams (40) whose music has, as they say, "gone viral" in the past year, with the result that they were invited to Nashville to record their debut album.

Ferlin Husky: Country singer who pioneered the 'Nashville Sound'

One of the most versatile vocalists in country music, Ferlin Husky was also one of its most popular all- round entertainers, as assured handling a comedy routine as he was performing classics like "Gone" and "Wings Of A Dove".

Outside Edge: Making waves in Tennessee

Department of Unfortunate Timing, Pt I: after decades of not bothering to give a name to their sporting teams' tiger mascot, Tennessee State University recently decided to put it to a student vote.

Leonard 'Bud' Lomell: US Ranger who led a successful attack on German clifftop machine guns during D-Day

Leonard "Bud" Lomell, at the time a 24-year-old sergeant, led a platoon of US army Rangers, climbing hand-over-over hand by rope, up the sheer, 100ft Pointe du Hoc cliffs in Normandy on 6 June 1944 in one of the most crucial actions of the Second World War. The objective of his platoon, and 200 other men of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, was a cluster of five or six clifftop German 155mm artillery guns which threatened the entire allied D-Day landing force on the nearby Omaha and Utah beaches. Allied intelligence had suggested that the guns, with a range of up to 15 miles, could decimate the allied landing force and turn the D-Day landing into a disaster.

Album: The Secret Sisters, The Secret Sisters (Decca)

Laura and Lydia Rogers are twenty-something sisters from Alabama.

Charlie Louvin: One half of the celebrated country music duo the Louvin Brothers

Almost unchallenged, the Louvin Brothers were the greatest brother act in country music and several of their songs, "When I Stop Dreaming", "The Christian Life" and "Cash on the Barrelhead", have been recorded by contemporary acts. "Being brothers really helped our harmonies," Charlie Louvin told me on a UK tour in 1988, "but I doubt if you could think of one brother act that grew old together. It just don't work."

Album: Abigail Washburn, City of Refuge (Rounder)

Born in Illinois, educated in Minnesota, now living in Tennessee via time spent in Vermont and China, it should come as no surprise that Washburn sounds like no one else.

Leading article: What the weather is telling us

The massive floods in Australia have tended to overshadow similar disasters in Sri Lanka, where a million people have seen their homes engulfed, and in Brazil, where 350 people have been killed and thousands affected by torrential downpours which are the worst in 25 years. The discrepancy might tell us something about the biases of western news media. But the phenomenon reveals more than that.

Dick Griffey: Record producer and executive who spoke out against the exploitation of black musicians

With infectious, irresistible invitations to the dance-floor such as "And The Beat Goes On" by the Whispers, "A Night To Remember" by Shalamar and "Midas Touch" by Midnight Star, Sound of Los Angeles Records – commonly abbreviated to Solar – the West Coast label founded by Dick Griffey, provided the sunny, soulful soundtrack for much of the Eighties on both sides of the Atlantic.

Sarah Palin email hacker sentenced

A man who was convicted of hacking into Sarah Palin's emails during the 2008 presidential campaign has been sentenced to a year and a day, with the judge recommending the term be served in a halfway house, not prison. The judge rejected a recommendation from prosecutors who argued for 18 months in prison.

Touch-typists catch errors on 'autopilot'

Touch-typists catch errors without even noticing them using an unconscious "autopilot", research shows.

Duane Eddy, Royal Festival Hall, London

His 1959 debut might have been called Have 'Twangy' Guitar Will Travel, but the legendary Duane Eddy hadn't graced a British stage since a tour with the Everly Brothers in 1991. All dressed in black, including an immovable Stetson, and playing his beautiful Gretsch signature guitar, Eddy rolled back the years from the off with "Detour" and his debut hit, "Moovin'N'Groovin". Backed by Richard Hawley's excellent band and a very adept saxophone player, he re-created his run of instrumental hits that are so evocative of the late Fifties and early Sixties. Eddy and his co-writer and producer, the late Lee Hazlewood, had a way with a title – cue "Cannonball" and the even snappier "Yep!" and "Shazam!" – and moved the guitar on from Les Paul's clean sound to a meaner, leaner rock'n'roll style.

Experimental film award identifies emerging talent

Experimental films shortlisted for the Jarman Award will be screened at the Whitechapel Gallery in London next Tuesday.

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Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

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Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor