Leading article: An issue of dignity that can no longer be avoided

Even with all the benefits of medicine, the terminally ill may face extreme pain and indignity
Fire crews fight the blazes in Chile's Torres del Paine national park which have been raging since Tuesday

Wildfires devastate Chilean wilderness

Wildfires sweeping through one of South America's most famous national parks are devastating thousands of acres of pristine habitat. So far, more than 21,000 acres of Torres del Paine have been destroyed by blazes that have yet to be brought under control.

Lesser celandine Ranunculus ficaria This yellow star is normally the first spring flower (snowdrops being winter flowers) and normally appears in early March, but parts of December were so mild that it was flowering in the west country

The year of strange weather

From a baking-hot spring to a chilly summer, 2011 played havoc with our plans, our wardrobes – and our native wildlife.

Lesser celandine Ranunculus ficaria This yellow star is normally the first spring flower (snowdrops being winter flowers) and normally appears in early March, but parts of December were so mild that it was flowering in the west country

The year of strange weather

From a baking-hot spring to a chilly summer, 2011 played havoc with our plans, our wardrobes – and our native wildlife. Michael McCarthy reports

Fast-finishing Hoey adds to McIlroy's frustration

Just when Rory McIlroy believed he was finally following up his US Open win, a little-known countryman rose to snatch the Dunhill Links crown from his grasp. Michael Hoey kept Northern Ireland's incredible run going with an inspired finish at the Home of Golf.

Invasion of the falcons: The peregrine is back in town

After decades of declining numbers, the world's fastest creature is populating Britain's cities once again. One pair has even set up home at Tate Modern

London's a real hoot after dark, say twitchers

London's nightlife will come under the spotlight in a novel way this summer when the public take part in a survey of the capital's owls.

Leading article: Streetwise

If the full-throated ease of the fabled nightingale is no longer to be heard in Berkeley Square, we now know why. A tawny owl has been spotted there, which is enough to frighten off the light-winged dryad of Keats's melodious imagination. It has followed the fox and the seagull as part of the encroachment of country upon town which has been a feature of our landscape.

Record sightings as red kites enjoy second wind

Red kites, the majestic birds of prey which 20 years ago were one of Britain's rarest creatures and confined to the Welsh mountains, are now being regularly seen in gardens around Britain, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has found.

Get top price tickets to see Little Eagles for just £15

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s first orbit around the earth, Rona Munro’s Little Eagles is a gripping new play charting the space race from the perspective of the Soviet Union. It brings to life the fascinating and little-known story of the brilliant man behind their success, Sergei Korolyov, and of the cosmonauts, his beloved ‘little eagles’.

My Natural History, By Simon Barnes

A lucky encounter with an ugly bat can change a life

Sport of kings takes wing once again

It's boom time for falconry as breeders struggle to cope with upsurge of interest among the young

Regal Eagles carries Burnley through

Burnley 3 Burton Albion 1
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor