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The birds' beauty belies their often menacing and destructive nature 

Sloth mystery solved: How moths and algae shape this unusual creature's toilet habits

Why sloths descend from the safety of the trees once a week to go to the toilet has baffled scientists - but one specialist thinks he has the answer

Postcard from... Sydney

A 1952 illustration of the popular fairy tale

Why grandma, what a big family tree you have... Scientific research has been used to trace Little Red Riding Hood’s roots....

... and, as Nick Clark discovers, she has ancestors spanning Africa, Asia and Europe

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict breaks seven-month silence to deny covering up abuse by paedophile priests, and to denounce Richard Dawkins' work as 'science fiction'

The emeritus pope made the comments in a letter to prominent mathematician and atheist Piergiorgio Odifreddi

Book review: An Appetite For Wonder, By Richard Dawkins

An insight beyond the caricature

Revealed, the ugliest animal on earth: the humble Blobfish

Other contenders for the prize included the axolotl and the pig-nosed turtle

Book review: Four Fields, By Tim Dee

From the Fens to Chernobyl, this tour of turf shows the skills of a gifted, if sombre, naturalist

The Saturday Quiz answers

1. Pope Francis.

Portfolio: Richard Bailey

Tom Lehrer's spring isn't complete without poisoning them in the park; Dick Dastardly dratted and double-dratted himself to near-oblivion chasing one. For the rest of us, it's become all too easy to vilify them as "rats with wings".

Google's Doodle commemorates Julius Richard Petri

This will grow on you: Google Doodle celebrates 161st birthday of Julius Richard Petri - inventor of the Petri dish

Google is commemorating the achievements of the scientist Julius Richard Petri today with a Google Doodle that shows his invention - the Petri dish - in action.

Consumers are being cheated 7% of the time when they buy white fish, a study has found

Cheaper fish being passed off as cod and haddock

Consumers are being routinely cheated when they buy cod and haddock, a study has found.

The God Argument, By AC Grayling

Virtuous atheists may live well and do good – but can they give hope to the hopeless cases?

A deep-sea lobster of the genus Puerulus from the Indian Ocean which was recently discovered to be new to science. Extinction rates of animals and plants on Earth have been exaggerated, according to a team of researchers

Animal kingdom is smaller than we thought (but that’s good news)

New, lower estimate means every plant and animal could be catalogued by the year 2100

Page 3 Profile: Dr Peter Wothers, chemist

A stuffy academic?

Neil Lennon celebrates Celtic’s victory over Barcelona

Kevin Garside: Belief in fate and miracles belittles the coach's role

For the Higgs boson believers, and me, Celtic just got lucky against Barcelona

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A Brazilian wandering spider
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World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

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Independent Travel
Vietnam & Cambodia
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past