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The birds' beauty belies their often menacing and destructive nature 

Darwin's Ghosts: In Search of the First Evolutionists, By Rebecca Stott

On the origin of Darwin's famous idea

Planning system 'failing' wildlife

The planning system is failing to protect England's wildlife and natural areas, many of which are facing major declines, a report has warned.

Bird deaths trigger health alert in Peru

The Peruvian government has declared a health alert along the country's northern coast and urged people to avoid long stretches of beach, as it investigates the mysterious deaths of hundreds of dolphins and pelicans.

Flooding hits nesting wading birds

The recent flooding has hit hundreds of nesting wading birds at nature reserves, the RSPB has said.

Symphonies of natural sounds: A Macaw juvenile in flight

The Great Animal Orchestra, By Bernie Krause

This musician-turned-naturalist finds via his fieldwork that calls and cries can be matter of wild life and death.

Two Britons fined over Australia penguin theft

Two British tourists who broke into an Australian theme park and stole a penguin following a drunken night out have each been fined A$1,000 (£637).

You can stuff your ban: US chefs fight to keep foie gras on the menu

Some of California's top chefs are attempting to overturn a ban on the production and sale of foie gras, two months before it is due to come into effect.

Peru to investigate mass pelican die-off in dolphin death area

Peru's oceanographic agency says it will investigate the deaths of hundreds of pelicans on northern beaches where nearly 900 dolphins were recently found dead.

About 37,500 runners took part in the London Marathon, which finished in front of Buckingham Palace

Marathon marred by runner's death

Tragedy struck the London Marathon yesterday when a 30-year-old woman collapsed and died with only a mile of the race to go.

Dinosaurs' eggs linked to their downfall

Laying eggs led to the dinosaurs' downfall after ruling the Earth for 150 million years, a study suggests.

Rentokil chilli gel wards off problem birds

A new red-hot weapon has been unveiled in the fight against problem birds.

1. Decorative bird cage, Very.co.uk, £32
Newborn ducklings from the world's most endangered duck species – the Madagascar pochard

World’s rarest ducks make Easter debut

Six years ago their kind was feared extinct, but 18 newborn ducklings from the world's most endangered duck species – the Madagascar pochard – met the public for the first time yesterday.

Controversial bird flu research set for publication‎

The full details of controversial research that led to the creation of a highly infectious form of birdflu virus – including the precise DNA sequence of the five mutations that transformed the virus – will be published despite fears that the work could be misused by bioterrorists, scientists said today.

Festival Guide 2012: A spotter's guide to festival excess

Smug Tweeters. Gurning Techno stilt loons. Naked am-dram mums. Bewildered teens. Key parts of any festival, says Nick Moore

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Mickey Rourke celebrates his victory against opponent Elliot Seymour
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Former ‘Daily Mirror’ editor Piers Morgan
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Gordon and Tana Ramsay arrive at the High Court, London
newsTV chef gives evidence against his father-in-law in court case
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Actor Burt Reynolds last year
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Johnny Handle, Northumberland, Ted Relph, President of Lakeland Dialect Society, and Sid Calderbank, Lancashire, founder of the National Dialect Day
newsMeet the enthusiasts determined to stop them dying out
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The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
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Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
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The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
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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