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The birds' beauty belies their often menacing and destructive nature 

Owen Farrell and Jack Nowell train with the rest of the England squad ahead of the Six Nations 2014

Six Nations 2014: Cool head Owen Farrell hoping to lead England to championship glory

Farrell admits you can't let anything effect your game as a fly-half and admits he learnt to keep a cool head very early in his career

Scientists have discovered the world's oldest cancer, transmitted between dogs, has survived for more than 11,000 years

Scientists discover world’s oldest cancer has survived – passing from host to host – for 11,000 years

Studying the disease among dogs could allow experts to build a defence if human cancers became transmissible

Hong Kong to destroy 28 tonnes of ivory

In a major step in the battle against the ivory trade, Hong Kong announced today that it will destroy 28 tonnes of its stockpiled ivory.

A side view of 'Ecce Animal', a skull moulded out of cocaine by Dutch artist Diddo

Dutch artist Diddo sculpts life-size human skull from cocaine

Diddo's central message is to question everything, and think for yourself

A pile of confiscated ivory waiting to be crushed in Dongguan, southern Guangdong province

Hong Kong agrees to destroy 28 tonnes of stockpiled ivory

Hong Kong will destroy its 28 tonnes of its stockpiled ivory, the Endangered Species Advisory Committee (ESAC) announced yesterday. This decision comes after Guangzhou in China destroyed six tonnes of ivory earlier this year.

A porcupine fell onto the head of a woman and left over 250 quills in her scalp

Ouch! Porcupine embeds over 200 spikes in Brazilian woman's head

Housewife left with 272 quills stuck in her scalp after prickly animal falls on her while she's walking the dog

A customs official with a recent seizure of rhino horn

Ferrari factor: How Vietnam's wealthy elite have made rhino horn worth its weight in gold

Customs officials in Thailand and Singapore seized £3.5m worth of rhino horn en route to Vietnam

New river dolphin species discovered in Amazon for first time in 100 years

Scientists say a group living in the Araguaia River, Brazil has been isolated from other varieties for more than two million years

Space for Giants trains and employs community scouts to patrol their local area and report incidents of poaching.

Field diary: protecting elephants on the ground

Our weekly field diary gives you an insight into the day-to-day work of Space for Giants scouts,  working in Laikipia, Kenya to save elephants.

Japanese fishermen transporting slaughtered dolphins in Taiji harbour; the water of the cove is red with the blood of dead animals. Locals brand criticism of the cull 'cultural imperialism'

Taiji Cove dolphins: This slaughter must stop

Those of us who are sickened by what’s happening can be part of the solution

Tweet up: 10 best bird houses

As the temperatures dip, the birds need our help. We round-up the most innovative (and occasionally bonkers) feeders and houses for our feathered friends

Caught red-handed? Burglary suspect captured on BBC wildlife presenter Simon King’s ‘fox family’ camera

Police said to be ‘delighted’ by footage from camera which streams 24-hours-a-day to the TV presenter's website

A Ryanair Boeing 737 aircraft

Delayed Ryanair passengers loot drinks trolley and steal cigarettes in 'barbaric' revolt

Passengers had been on plane for several hours before the 'mutiny' took place

Japanese fishermen transporting slaughtered dolphins in Taiji harbour; the water of the cove is red with the blood of dead animals. Locals brand criticism of the cull 'cultural imperialism'

Taiji Cove dolphins: Japanese government defends 'lawful' slaughter as hunters prepare to kill 200 animals

Hundreds of dolphins are killed in a remote Japanese bay during hunting season. The town argues it is an important tradition, but conservationists maintain the bloody practice is inhumane

A red bellied piranha, similar to the palometas that have injured bathers in attacks in Argentina

Ten people wounded by flesh-eating piranhas while bathing in Argentina

The fish already injured swimmers cooling down from the heat last month

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border