Sport

Aussies climb back to the top of the world rankings

Ross Hutchins (R) and Colin Fleming (L) progressed to the second round of the Australian Open on the former's return to Grand Slam action after his battle with cancer

Australian Open 2014: Ross Hutchins makes successful return to Grand Slam action 12 months on from the start of his cancer battle

Hutchins and his doubles partner Colin Fleming defeated Marinko Matosevic and Michael Przysiezny 4-6 6-4 6-0 to reach the second round

Kevin Pietersen can either wait for the IPL auction next month or play county cricket in England

Kevin Pietersen: Batsman included in provisional England squad for ICC World Twenty20 despite questions over his future

Reports emerged last week that England coach Andy Flower had issued a 'him or me' ultimatum regarding the controversial Pietersen

Ravi Bopara goes on the attack during England's 172-run victory over a Prime Ministers XI

ODI series: Alastair Cook fails to score once again, but at least there's some relief for England

Cook was walking back to the pavilion within the first over but Ravi Bopara stares with the ball to earn 172-run victory

Spain's Rafael Nadal (L) comforts Australia's Bernard Tomic after his retirement from their men's singles match on day two

Australian Open 2014: Bernard Tomic jeered by home crowd after retiring in match against Rafael Nadal

The Australian youngster was a set down at the time

England's Anya Shrubsole celebrates with her team-mates following the Ashes Test victory over Australia in Perth

Women's Ashes: Urn not won yet, warns Charlotte Edwards after Test triumph

England's women won their only Ashes Test against Australia by 61 runs in Perth and put six valuable points towards their bid to retain the trophy.

Public Health England say plain packaging for cigarettes is the right policy to adopt

Plain cigarette packaging is 'the right policy' for the UK, says public health authority

Plain packaging for cigarettes is “the right policy for the country” and will be of particular benefit in protecting children from the dangers of smoking, England’s public health authority has said.

Yooranah with his mother Alinga at Edinburgh Zoo

A new plan to save Australian wildlife prioritises saving species which add the most to the economy. But is this a mercenary approach, or just good sense?

If you have nearly 100 critically endangered animals, how do you target limited conservation resources? Australian scientists have come up with one solution, using a mathematical equation to determine which species should be saved and which let go.

England fast bowler Chris Jordan has drawn praise for his performance in the ODI defeat to Australia

ODI series: Fast Bowler Chris Jordan hoping series in Australia will launch his England career after impressing in opening defeat

Jordan drew praise from captain Alastair Cook and former Australia bowler Brett Lee and has set his sights on 2015 World Cup selection

England women celebrate their victory in the Ashes Test match against Australia

Women's Ashes 2014: England dig deep to show the men how it's done and take a crucial six-point lead over Australia

England women claim a 61-run victory over their Australian counterparts to take an important lead in the current Ashes series

England opener Ian Bell is bowled for 41 by Xavier Doherty in Melbourne

ODI series: Aaron Finch hits century to ensure same old story as sloppy England spurn chances against Australia

Captain Alastair Cook failed to survive the first over

Kate Cross

Women's Ashes 2014: Kate Cross helps put England back on track

The bowler took three quick wickets to turn the Test around

Alastair Cook goes in the first over

ODI series: Alastair Cook laments top-order failure following latest defeat to Australia

The captain was out in the first over

Australia v England: Michael Clarke tips opponents to compete for next year's World Cup crown

Australia captain backs England to be one of many teams in contention for success ahead of five-match post-Ashes series

Rene Farrell celebrates with her Australia teammates after claiming the wicket of Sarah Taylor in the Women's Ashes Test

Women's Ashes 2014: England rocking after dismal start to second innings in finely poised Test

Tourists lost three early wickets to finish day two on 18-3 with Australia holding a slender six-run lead overnight

England captain Alastair Cook looks dejected as Australia celebrates their Ashes triumph after the fifth Test

Ashes 2013-14: Alastair Cook’s sleepless nights over Kevin Pietersen future

England captain admits lying in bed thinking about the way forward and ‘the decisions that go with that’ as debate about the leading batsman continues, writes Stephen Brenkley in Melbourne

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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
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

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Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

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Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

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Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

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