News

Schoolteacher William Buchman was arrested after officers found over 300 living and dead snakes inside his property

The yearly number of polar bear skins offered at auction increased by 375 per cent between 2007 and 2012

Cites conference: Canada and US at odds over trade in polar bears

The United States and Canada are on a collision course at the Cites conference over proposals that would outlaw much of the hunting of polar bears.

Tumblr blog Jim’ll Paint It posts several artworks created using Microsoft Paint a day

Jim’ll Paint It: The man who drew too much

Tumblr blog of the day (if not the year so far): Jim’ll Paint It. A man, presumably Jim, possibly with a lot of time on his hands, takes commissions for original artworks and posts several a day created using Microsoft Paint.Jim has an eye for the bizarre – and more detail than Paint should allow.

Postcard from... Milan

Editorial: Tinkering with taxes will not boost the economy

The way to improve Britain’s taxation system is to make it simpler

Edinburgh zoo pandas could mate 'within weeks'

Edinburgh Zoo’s two giant pandas could be ready to mate within the next month, according to experts.

Postcard from... Beirut

While Europe is engulfed by its horse-meat scandal, Lebanon is battling its own food crisis: wood shavings in its beloved zaatar manakeesh.

Postcard from... Berlin

Stafford Hospital, where hundreds of patients are thought to have died needlessly in a four-year period

Stafford hospital scandal: NHS staff responsible for 'terrible care of patients could face prosecution for wilful neglect or manslaughter'

NHS staff responsible for the “terrible” care of patients at Stafford Hospital could face prosecution for wilful neglect or manslaughter, the head of the inquiry into failings of care suggested today.

Stafford hospital carer 'called dementia patient an animal'

A veteran nurse broke down in tears while telling a tribunal how she saw a colleague at Stafford General Hospital pulling a dementia patient around by his pyjamas with his genitals exposed and then called him an “animal” .

Attenborough's Africa: Why do we feel sorry for the animals on our screens, but not in our bellies?

Our tears over the plight of animals in Sir David Attenborough’s documentaries show a stark contrast to the lack of consideration for animals in our own kitchens

Yule Log, the overweight grey seal. Staff at the sanctuary said his lovable character and pleading eyes were hard to resist at feeding time

Hefty seal put on diet and exercise regime after piling on the pounds

A grey seal with a penchant for overeating has been put on a strict diet after gaining more than 124kg in just nine months.

Academic takes swipe at David Attenborough wildlife documentaries for ignoring gay animals

Three of veteran broadcaster's shows identified in a new study as perpetuating the notion that animal relationships are predominantly heterosexual

Would you adopt the dog with a human face? Or the stink bug?

Rescuers are hoping to find a home for a poodle shih-tzu who's pleading gaze resembles that of a human face.

The Last Quarter of the Moon, By Chi Zijian (trs by Bruce Humes) Harvill Secker £14.99

A distant life of 90 years is told in a day
BBC 5Live presenter Shelagh Fogarty gets flustered after a mouse in spotted in the studio

Video: 'How horrible!' BBC radio presenter screams on-air after spotting a mouse

BBC 5Live's radio presenter Shelagh Fogarty was left cowering on her chair after a mouse was seen scurrying across the studio.

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
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File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
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Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
Arts and Entertainment
Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
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i100
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Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
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Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
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Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
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Day In a Page

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
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'