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

Your Questions: 'My cat has turned into a crazy feline and attacks my ankles every time I walk past'

Q. I have a six-month-old, female, British short-haired cat. We had been getting along just fine, but recently she's turned into a crazy feline. Nearly every time I walk past her she attacks my ankles. I don't know what do to. Any suggestions? Steven, via e-mail

Bacteria outbreak kills baby in neonatal unit

A baby has died and six others were in isolation last night after an infection broke out in a hospital's neonatal unit.

Baby dies in hospital bug outbreak

One baby has died and six others were in an isolation ward tonight after a bug hit a hospital's neo-natal unit.

Takeaways targeted in 'Food Standards Agency' scam

As obvious targets for extortion scams go, the humble city-centre cafe would not seem to be the most likely choice for con artists.

Tania Sanchez: Fight germs: eat mince pies

In the month leading up to the 25th of December, a woman who lived the first half of her life in tropical Saigon – and who happens to be my mother – will drag a purchased fir tree into her cosy California home, where winter weather means a millimetre of morning frost on the windows that disappears by 9am.

Increase in asthma linked to Caesareans

Eight-year study of 3,000 children finds 80 per cent rise in risk

Why (some) women don't scrub up as well as men

In matters of personal hygiene, it is men who are viewed as the grimy sex while women strive to keep them scrubbed. But a survey has revealed that female cleanliness is a myth. Women were up to three times more likely to have dirty hands than men.

Salmonella outbreak warning

Food safety experts were last night trying to trace the source of an outbreak of a new strain of salmonella that has spread throughout the British Isles.

US scientist had purified anthrax

US Army scientist Bruce Ivins had sole custody of highly purified anthrax spores with "certain genetic mutations identical" to the poison that killed five people and rattled America in 2001, according to documents unsealed today in the government's investigation.

Steve Connor: A potential battlefield killer – and a weapon of mass hysteria

Anthrax is an acute infectious disease caused by a bacterium, Bacillus anthracis, which can form highly resistant spores that can lie dormant in the soil for many decades. It has been extensively investigated as a potential biological weapon by Britain, America, Iraq and the former Soviet Union, although it has never been used in open warfare.

Last Night's TV: The good doctor laid it all on the table

Just don't expect me not to snigger, that's all. I know we're supposed to be grown-up about these things and that today's children are, notionally at least, growing up hideously ignorant about sexual health and that it's a thoroughly good thing that Dr Alice Roberts is giving us a brisk introduction to our reproductive organs to kick off her series Don't Die Young. But when she talked about "my user's guide to the male reproductive organ", I'm afraid I couldn't repress the unruly boy slouching on the back row who wanted Miss to explain precisely what she used it for. Was she going to offer star ratings? Handy tips for the novice handler? Small boy piped up again when she delivered one of her pieces to camera from the crotch of the Cerne Abbas giant and, I regret to say, when we were introduced to her male guinea pig, an events organiser called Mark Smallman. With a name such as that, Mr Smallman must have had a very wearying time in his teenage years, but he can now lay the past to rest. His testicles, we have it on sound medical authority, are an excellent size, and the sample of semen he had tested looked as busy as a municipal lido in the middle of a heatwave. As in the lido, there always seems to be one maniac, head down and doing a splashy sprint from corner to corner.

Microcosm: E.coli And The New Science Of Life, by Carl Zimmer

From soiled nappies comes a tiny wonder – with a giant role in genetics

Paperbacks: Match Wits With the Kids, by Jonathan Green

Though based on the yawn-making "Key Stage 3 of the National Curriculum", this jolly compendium will enlighten all who dip in.

Householders told to boil water after safety alert

Thousands of people were warned to boil drinking water today after a contamination scare.

The 5-minute Interview: Gregg Wallace, food expert and TV presenter

'I'd like to have been a rugby player, then a history professor'
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Bruges
Lake Como
Burgundy
South AFrica
Paris
Northern Corsica
Prices correct as of 21 November 2014
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game