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The birds' beauty belies their often menacing and destructive nature 

Full Metal Jacket actor R. Lee Ermey poses in Facebook pictures with lions he shot

A Hollywood actor has been branded a “disgusting killer” after being pictured proudly with two dead lions.

An aerialist performs during Quidam, a show by Cirque du Soleil, at the Royal Albert Hall
Fishermen have found two conjoined gray whale calves in a northwestern Mexican lagoon, a discovery that a government marine biologist described as

Conjoined gray whale calves discovered in Mexican lagoon could be world's first ever documented find, experts say

Experts said that while other species have been found to have conjoined twins, the find is ‘without any precedent’ among gray whales

The pope has a lamb put around his neck by a woman dressed as a character from the nativity scene at Church of St Alfonso Maria dei Liguori in the outskirts of Rome

Pope visits Nativity re-enactment

'My goldfish died': 10 oddest excuses for late tax returns

HM Revenue and Customs reveals 10 most bizarre excuses for sending in a late return

Investigators say Joshua Werbicki was caught having sex with the dog on a hidden camera

Man in Florida charged with having sex with dog

A man in Florida has been arrested over allegedly having repeated sex with a dog.

Lonely dolphin 'trying to make friends with humans' after being separated from pod in Australia

A lonely young dolphin is trying to make friends with humans along Australia’s east coast but swimmers are being told to shun the creature.

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

China crushes six tonnes of ivory in crackdown on illegal trade

The illegal stockpile was destroyed in a landmark move but critics say it is just a fraction of the total

Three dead minke whales lie on the deck of the Japanese whaling vessel Nisshin Maru as it travels through the Southern Ocean

Photos show Japanese boats 'whaling in internationally protected area'

Anti-whaling activists Sea Shepherd say they shot the footage showing dead whales in pools of blood

Frozen skin, dead animals and hypothermia: What happens at -50ºC?

The icy winds blasting the US have the power to freeze bare skin and kill animals.

100-year sentences deny perpetrators the chance of change - and allow us to forget their humanity

Much as we should be disgusted by their crimes, locking people up for a century will not make our country a safer place

Book review: 'The Dig' by Cynan Jones

Poetry, red in tooth and claw

Two-headed calf Sana Saida born in Morocco

Locals have been flocking to see the animal in the city of Fes

Postcard from... Berlin

The conversation: Environmental activist Laurens de Groot on running from seal clubbers and why you don't mess with Russia

Sea Shepherd would aim to scupper missions by any means, whether it was throwing foul-smelling acid or sinking ships. At what point did you join?

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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 1 May 2015
General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected