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.

If it's January, it must be Kerala, if it's October, then it's Mozambique

Are you still deciding where to take your holiday in 1999? Travel journalist of the year Jill Crawshaw gives a run-down of destinations to suit all tastes and suggests the best time to visit...

The Twelve Puzzles of Christmas

The Twelve Puzzles of Christmas. Puzzles marked * are for younger children. Puzzles marked with ** are for older children. Unmarked puzzles are toughies!

Food & Drink: Organ recital

Busting a gut to find the perfect way to celebrate a big birthday

Former atom bomb test site becomes camel reserve

BEATING swords into ploughshares is old hat, it seems. This week there is to be an international treaty to give up atomic weapons for camels.

In the Sticks: Abortion is more than just saying goodbye to a bean

WHAT I haven't mentioned amid the dangers of oversexed Jerseys and chook population explosions is the one thing that has been totally dominating our lives for a month: our own possible population explosion.

Zoological Notes: The silent red threat of the black widow

THE BLACK widow spider is famous for its most mysterious trait: its bite is toxic enough to kill animals thousands of times its own size. Including, occasionally, a human being.

Fast Track: How to make the most of a year out

It used to be de rigueur to bum around for 12 months before going to university. Not any more. By Claire Walker

LITERALLY LOST: 49

Competition

Books of the week

The Lost Camels of Tartary (Little, Brown and Co, pounds 18.99), by John Hare.

Racing: Silver Charm on top of the world

SILVER CHARM, the 9-10 favourite, showed courage and tenacity of the highest order to beat Swain by the width of a camel's whisker in the third running of the $4 million Dubai World Cup, the world's richest horserace, at Nad El Sheba last night.

The land the map forgot

Ramadan ended this week, but in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania fasting seems to be almost second-nature - as Stephen Wells found out, when he was stuck in the Sahara with a tin of sardines.

Making an ass of Aesop's moral maze

We think of `Aesop's Fables' as gentle little moral tales for children. But what about `The Camel who Shat in the River' and `The Beaver who Bit off his Private Parts'? These are not the Fables we grew up with. As David Lister explains, these are what the man actually wrote. A new book will show history's most famous fable maker to have a coarse and violent kink.

TRAVEL SPECIAL: THE SEA OF SAND

The Namib Desert is Earth's own lunar landscape, a fragile environment of rare wildlife and bizarre beauty

Racing: Once in Royal David's betting shop...

Honest Claus peered through the two-way mirror between his plush, leathered office and the bustling interior of the betting shop and allowed a wave of smugness to wash over his white-bearded face.

Carlos plays the last of the great revolutionaries

It was a polished performance, even a cheeky one. Carlos enjoyed his day in court (the first of many). But anyone who was a student in the 1970s knew instantly who Ilich Ramirez Sanchez was; or at least who he was pretending to be. He was the upper middle-class boy, who dressed and conversed in the urbane, bourgeois manner, but spoke in fluently earnest Marxist jargon.
Sport
Andy Murray reaches the final of the Australian Open after beating Tomas Berdych in another impressive display, but the match was marred by ill feeling
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The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
newsMinistry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
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Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
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Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
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Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
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Comedian Ted Robbins collapsed on stage during a performance of Phoenix Nights Live at Manchester Arena (Rex)
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The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
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newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
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Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links