The largest flood defence exercise ever held in the UK is getting under way - and will last all week.

Exercise Watermark will involve thousands of people from the emergency services, councils and utility firms.

The practical test comes in the wake of heavy criticism of failings in the official response to the floods which hit several areas in 2007.

A series of scenarios across England and Wales will test the authorities' ability to co-ordinate.

7th March 2011 Flood Management, Flooding


India has ambitious plans to increase graduate numbers in a way which would give it the size and status of an education superpower.

The figures are staggering. India's government speaks of increasing the university enrolment rate from around 12% at present to 30% of the population by 2025 - approaching the levels of many Western countries.


3rd March 2011 development, Education, India, Superpowers

Tens of thousands of people have gathered in central Cairo for a seventh day of protest, calling for a general strike. Police have been ordered back to the streets, to positions they abandoned on Friday, but it is not clear whether they are returning to central Cairo.


31st January 2011 Egypt, Middle East, tourism


Australia's third largest city, Brisbane, is experiencing some of the worst flooding in the city's recent history. The water level was expected to peak at 1800 (GMT) on Wednesday and to remain high for about 12 hours. Thousands of people have fled their homes.

17th January 2011 Brisbane, Flooding, Queensland, Victoria


The tsunami was triggered by a magnitude 7.7 earthquake that hit at 9:42 p.m., local time, on Monday near the western island of Sumatra. The resulting waves killed more than 300 people. (See an Indonesia map.)

A few hours later the 9,700-foot (3,000-meter) volcano Mount Merapi, on the eastern island of Java, blew a pillar of hot ash and debris into the sky, killing at least 30 people living on its slopes. (See pictures of Mount Merapi erupting.)


5th November 2010

About 80% of the world's population lives in areas where the fresh water supply is not secure, according to a new global analysis.

4th October 2010 development, Water

The recent seizure of more than two tonnes of cocaine, worth an estimated $1bn (about £675m) in The Gambia has once again shone a light on West Africa as a major transit point for narcotics making their way from Latin America to Europe.

21st June 2010 Africa, Crime, development, drug trade