News

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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Prices correct as of 21 November 2014
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty