News This 1348 painting shows how plague devastated European cities like Florence

Black rats are also implicated in both outbreaks, which took place 800 years apart

Mikel Arteta: 'I looked down at my leg and thought, oh God...'

Mikel Arteta tells Tim Rich about the rare infection that kept him out of football for 11 months, and why it was 'embarrassing' to watch Everton lose without him

Did Charles Darwin get it wrong?

After all the Darwin celebrations, a controversial new book aims to undermine major parts of his scientific legacy. Peter Forbes looks at the arguments and asks scientists if the critics have a case

Alex James: Running in the woods has its ups and downs

Rural Notebook

Plasma jet 'could replace dentist's drill'

A futuristic "plasma jet" that eradicates tooth decay without fillings could be replacing the dentist's drill in as little as three years, a study claims.

Legionnaire's disease investigation at under-fire hospital

Health chiefs were today investigating a possible outbreak of legionnaires' disease at a hospital which was recently under scrutiny for blood-splattered equipment and an unusually high patient mortality rate.

Disinfectants make stronger superbugs

Disinfectants designed to keep bacteria out of homes and hospitals could be fuelling the growth of superbugs. Scientists found that exposing infectious bacteria to increasing amounts of disinfectant turned the bugs into hardy survivors. The bacteria also developed resistance to the antibiotic, ciprofloxacin – despite not having previously encountered the drug.

Mother of twins with E. coli attacks petting farm

Boys in hospital with kidney failure among victims of outbreak

E. coli outbreak: thousands of children at risk

Manager of farm where victims contracted disease says he did nothing wrong

Bug resistant to antibiotics enters UK

Health experts are warning that a new bug which is resistant to antibiotics has been brought into the UK by patients treated abroad.

Swine flu girl died of septic shock

A six-year-old girl with swine flu died of septic shock following a bout of tonsilitis, it was announced today.

Wetlands, By Charlotte Roche

Charlotte Roche's novel Feuchtgebiete created a minor literary scandal, when it was published in Germany last year. More exactly translated as "moist patches", this debut is an upfront riposte to the evils of "raunch culture" – a Teutonic paean to all things female, hairy and swampy.

Bug holds key to alien life

A tiny purple bug discovered three kilometres under Greenland ice has been reawakened from a slumber lasting more than 100,000 years.

Microbes found miles beneath Greenland ice given new life

Discovery raises hopes of lifeforms enduring harsh conditions on other planets

How the human skin is a des res for bacteria

Study reveals astonishing number and range of microbes on our bodies

Raw seafood warning after mussels scare

A warning about the dangers of eating raw or lightly cooked seafood was issued today after cholera bugs were found in Norwegian mussels.

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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
South Africa
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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

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
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

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
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?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all