News Getting the hump: camels do battle in front of tens of thousands of spectators

On Sunday, more than 20,000 people will gather in Turkey to watch camels do battle in a spectacle that dates back thousands of years. It is, depending on your attachment to the ungainly beasts, a historic cultural institution to be celebrated – or a throwback to an era before animal-rights campaigns when it was OK to starve an animal for three months to make it cross.

Some lions in the zoo in 2006 - animal-rights activists have long been concerned about conditions at Giza

‘Hell for animals’: Egypt's Giza Zoo beset by tear gas, bear ‘riots’ and giraffe ‘suicide’

Animal-rights activists have long been concerned about conditions there

5 ways elephants changed history: A brief history of stomping victories and disastrous reversals

It was the arrival of the cannon in the 19th century that finally heralded the end of elephants being used as an instrument of war. Until that time, from as early as 1000BC, they trampled across battlefields around the globe, through wars in places as far flung as Yemen and Sri Lanka.

Coming into contact with camels has been known to spread the respiratory virus

Ship of the desert: Camels of Arabia suspected of carrying deadly virus cargo

The one-humped dromedary camel of Arabia may be the source of a mysterious respiratory virus that emerged without warning last year causing kidney failure and severe pneumonia and leading to the death of about half the people known to be infected.

Circus animal ban should be watered down to exclude raccoons and others

Snakes, zebras, camels, raccoons and reindeers should be excluded from circus animal ban, say MPs

Government proposals to ban all wild animals from travelling circuses should be watered down to allow zebras, camels, reindeer and snakes to stay on the road, MPs have recommended.

Harold Bell Lasseter, seen right on a truck in Alice Springs in 1930, after finding nuggets ‘as big as plums’

El Dorado 'found' on Google Earth: Now expedition launched to retrieve legendary Australian gold

In 1929, Harold Bell Lasseter transfixed Australia with a tale of a quartz outcrop in the heart of the continent containing gold nuggets "as thick as plums in a pudding". He had stumbled across the reef, buried beneath sand hills in Western Australia's remote Gibson Desert, he claimed, while prospecting for rubies three decades earlier.

Helen Flanagan poses to promote the new PETA campaign, in Covent Garden

Ex-Coronation Street actress Helen Flanagan fleshes out exotic skins protest for Peta

Former Coronation Street star Helen Flanagan did her bit to protest against the skin trade by showing off some flesh of her own.

Campaigners want wild animals banned from performing circus stunts

Government to ban use of wild animals in travelling circuses from 2015

More than 30,000 people signed an Independent petition calling for a ban

President Hollande was given the first camel in February

Mali presents François Hollande with a new camel after the first one was eaten by the family caring for it

There was, finally, some good news for President François Hollande today.

A view of the Yas Marina circuit built in Abu Dhabi

The Qatar 'Dream Football League' may be a hoax, but never discount any plans from the Middle East

Report in The Times claims Premier League sides will be offered £175m to compete in tournament

Artist's impression of the giant camel that lived within the Arctic Circle in northern Canada 3.5 million years ago

Giant camel fossil unearthed in the Arctic

Think animals of the frozen north and you think polar bear, musk ox, and walrus – but now you can also think camel.

The Big Six: Super-sized rentals

Spitbank Fort, The Solent

One of Karl Lagerfeld's latest creations

Karl Lagerfeld's animal magnetism: defiant designer goes big on fur

Fendi revels in mink and fox

The Griffon vulture was fitted with a GPS transmitter

Meet operative PP0277: A secret agent – or just a vulture hungry for dead camel?

Sudan says he's an Israeli operative – but his handlers say he's too easily distracted for that. Matthew Kalman reports on a spy thriller

Lord Monckton was an adviser to Margaret Thatcher

Lord Monckton kicked out of international climate change conference after posing as a delegate

Christopher Monckton, a UK Independence Party activist and dogged critic of the environmentalist movement, has been turned out of an international climate change conference in Qatar after posing as a delegate.

Postcard from... Granada

Since late last week, a photographic exhibition inside the Alhambra covering the last 70 years of Oman's social and religious history offers a rare and intriguing insight into one of the Middle East's least-known countries.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine