Life and Style Merry Christmas! Here's a snake in a hat.

Snakes in hats has become the latest pet trend to take online forums by storm, take a look at some of the most stylish here

Frog's-eye view of the campaign

While the general election will be the first to move on to the information superhighway, both Labour and the Conservatives are already cruising in the fast lane with their instant rebuttal computer systems.

Remember origami? It's gone digital ...

cd-rom review; Andy Oldfield and young friends test a program that lets you print out and make 600 paper toys

Rescue plan is launched for the vanishing natterjack toad

A century ago the natterjack toad was still common across much of Britain. You could find it as close to London as Blackheath.

LETTER: Spell it right or the frog gets it

From Master Allie Johnstone

Bellamy puts a brave face on Frogwatch

NICHOLAS SCHOON

A weekly round-up of rural rumpuses

As a novel change from owls falling victim to humans (see above), humans fell victim to an owl last week. Passers-by on a council estate at Kimberworth in South Yorkshire were left battered and bleeding by a dive-bombing tawny owl. One man thought he had been mugged when he was hit from behind and left pouring with blood. After six days the owl was captured by Paul Kettleborough, a falconer. He said: "I've never known an owl act like this before ... I went up with my fishing net and was hit once on the head before it came for my face ... The owl has been hand-reared by someone who knows very little about birds of prey. They've probably got fed up with the noise and set it free."

Virus is blamed for killing off frogs

STEVE CONNOR

If 30,000 newts could vote, John Major would be out

Ken Livingstone detects Tory party machinations behind the threat to a colony of rare amphibians in the Prime Minister's constituency

LETTER: Duck tales

What's this? First the Weasel thinks he's a rodent, and now he appears to think that ducks are amphibians (Up & Down Canary Wharf, 25 March). Is the Weasel a sheaf short of a stook?

Freak frogs catch nature-lovers on the hop

Nature-watchers across Britain have been taken by surprise by the emergence of orange-coloured frogs in garden ponds indulging in early spring mating displays.

Ancient frog

North Korean archaeologists discovered the fossil of a frog which lived about 150 million years ago, proving, officials said, that the peninsula was a cradle of human civilisation, Reuter reports from Tokyo. The remains were found near the north- western city of Sinuiju, near the border with China.

Toads rule road

Safety work at the side of the A40 near Cheltenham in Gloucestershire is being delayed until toads which cross it have finished their mating season. In order to prevent the toads being crushed by cars volunteers regularly patrol the road and carry the animals across in buckets.

Letter: Of frogs and heroines

Sir: Emma Bagnall ('Dear Dorothea Brooke', 20 January) misses the point about Dorothea - and about George Eliot, too.

Letter: Matthew Arnold: man of the people

Sir: Bryan Appleyard grossly misrepresents Matthew Arnold by inventing a tradition of 'ever-more paranoid assertion of the need for an inner cultural priesthood that would protect the highest and the best from the lowest and the worst' and frog-marching Arnold into it. The author of Culture and Anarchy believed

Germans declare a new war on frog foreigners

FROGS and politics are not a familiar pairing. In the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, however, the American bullfrog has, together with a number of other exotic amphibians, been declared an unwelcome alien.
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
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Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
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Jamie Oliver
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The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
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Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
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people
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Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
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Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
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Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
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Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?