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.

Australia gets the hump – and reaches for the gun to settle its camel question

Brought to the country as beasts of burden in 1840, today there are one million camels eating the outback

Simon Carr: There's a lot in peasant wisdom

We've detached ourselves from our real lives to live a subjunctive world

A new journey of exploration for Michael Palin

As the Royal Geographical Society's new head, Michael Palin is a man with the world in his hands. He tells Michael McCarthy of his passion for the spirit of Shackleton

Anthony Rose: The upturn in English wine's fortunes is due to growing professionalism and a change in grape varieties

It's a fair bet that when Barack Obama sipped the 1998 Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs served on his recent visit to Britain, compliments will have been duly showered on his host like confetti. It's an open secret that despite the stigma that sill attaches to English wine, England can more than hold its head high in the sparkling wine stakes. With more than 100 awards doled out this year in the UK's consumer wine competitions, English wines, sparkling wines in particular, have harvested a bumper crop. All but one of several gold medals went to English fizz, among them the 2005 Camel Valley White Pinot from Bodmin in Cornwall, Nyetimber's 1992 Blanc de Blancs 1992 from East Sussex and the 2005 Hush Heath Balfour Brut Rosé from the Weald of Kent.

Last Night's Television: Raising the temperature

The Hottest Place on Earth, BBC1<br />Red Riding, Channel 4

Dubai Festival of Literature: Censorship, women writers...and camels

At the first Dubai Festival of Literature last weekend, disparate writers gathered from all over the world.

My Life In Travel: Toby Anstis, DJ

'It's good for the soul to experience new places and cultures'

The ride of a lifetime: 20 unforgettable ways to see the world

Want to travel in style? Then forget planes and automobiles, and try bikes, elephants and airships instead. In this special issue, we present 20 unforgettable ways to see the world from a new perspective

Eat a camel and save the planet, Australians are told

Not only is the meat low in fat, eating it could help to protect the fragile outback, in danger of being over-run by dromedaries

Lives Remembered: Ray Sturtivant

Ray Sturtivant, who died on 9 August aged 82, was a distinguished civil servant, but he will be best remembered for his prolific and meticulous work on RAF and Fleet Air Arm military aviation history. He published 27 books on the subject.

Presenting the most glamorous goat in all Arabia

Contestants in the Gulf's most hotly contested beauty pageant turn heads with their shaggy coats and unnerving eyes

The Complete Guide To: Rajasthan, India

A world of colour, splendour and spectacle awaits visitors to India's largest and most romantic state. Rhiannon Batten on a land of camels and cultural riches

Pandora: Malik's final hustle

Hooray, a hat-trick! In the sporting world's most predictable result since Frank Bruno's 1996 obliteration at the hands of "Iron" Mike Tyson, Shahid Malik, the dishy International Development minister, has chalked up a third consecutive victory in the annual pool shoot-out in Annie's Bar at the Commons.

China: a difficult place to travel, a glorious country to explore

Moving around this vast land has always been a hassle, yet the experience is incomparable, says food writer Fuchsia Dunlop. And she can't resist going back for more

Small Talk: Probability bets on crazy camels after gamblers get the hump with US laws

Probability has not had the easiest of starts to its life on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), hit by the fallout of US legislation just a week after listing. But with a business model backed by the market and rising revenues, the mobile phone gambling specialist is preparing for one of the industry's showpiece events this week with confidence. A year and a bit on from its listing, Probability is gearing up for its second International Casino Exhibition (ICE) in Earls Court.

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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