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The birds' beauty belies their often menacing and destructive nature 

1. Persuasion: ‘Cobb Gate, Lyme Regis’ attributed to Reed - “A brooding, romantic image of the Cobb at Lyme Regis. Suddenly the stakes for the heroine seem very high.”

A whole new chapter for the Penguin English Library

The Penguin English Library's books became design icons in the Sixties, but, asks Arifa Akbar, can the relaunched series be as big a success story?

Rare great white egret chick hatches in UK for first time

A great white egret chick has hatched in England, making a new breeding bird record for the UK, Natural England has said.

The numbers of buzzards are recovering after years of decline in Britain

Another day, another U-turn – plan for buzzard cull given the bird

Controversial plans to shotgun-blast the nests of buzzards to help out pheasant shooters were abruptly dropped by the Government yesterday, 24 hours after they were extensively highlighted and criticised in i.

Buzzard 'capture' scheme dropped

The Government has dropped a controversial scheme allowing buzzards to be taken into captivity and their nests destroyed to protect pheasant shoots.

The buzzard (left) and the pheasant

Minister sanctions buzzard nest blasting for 'research'

From the end of this week, Britain's minister for wildlife is sending men to destroy the nests of wild buzzards by blasting them with shotguns.

Leading article: No possible excuse for destroying buzzard nests

Game shooting – the blasting of large numbers of pheasants and other birds out of the sky for enjoyment – has so far escaped the widespread opprobrium attached to fox hunting, largely because it takes place out of the public gaze. But that may be about to change.

The buzzard (left) and the pheasant

Richard Benyon: The bird-brained minister

He is meant to be the Government's wildlife champion. So why is Richard Benyon backing a plan to destroy the nests of protected birds of prey in the interests of pheasant shooters?

RSPB voices shock at buzzard plans

Conservationists have condemned plans that would allow buzzard nests to be destroyed and the birds of prey taken into captivity to protect pheasant shoots.

Street lighting is changing insect ecosystems, study claims

Street lighting is changing insect ecosystems in towns and cities, a study has found.

The spoonbill, left, and a purpleheron

European egrets move to Somerset – for the weather

Warming climate may have enticed first pair of the Continental herons to mate in Britain

Clarke fails again at Match Play

Justin Rose handed Darren Clarke a 6&4 drubbing at the Volvo World Match Play Championship in Spain yesterday.

Japanese fugitive penguin 337 spotted in Tokyo Bay

After Penguin Number 337 made a daring bid for freedom from a Tokyo aquarium and vanished into the waters of Tokyo Bay two months ago, many feared the worst for the adventurous feathered fugitive.

Thai food manufacturer interested in Birds Eye

The maker of Birds Eye fish fingers has followed Weetabix as the latest household British brand to attract takeover interest from Asia.

Gone to ground: Francis Meli of St Helens is stopped by Wigan's defence

Wane keen to keep Finch after victory in cup derby

Wigan Warriors 18 St Helens 4

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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
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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
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