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.

Rock: Stones and the art of mutual satisfaction

VARIOUS ARTISTS

For camel trekking, try Somerset

Surreal? Certainly. But if you've got the hump with horse riding, why not go west aboard a charming, stately creature, asks Rupert Isaacson

Farmer's daughter brings new approach to sport of Sheikhs

The sight of 20 hump-backed and ungainly beasts clumping through the heat and dust of the Dubai desert is unlikely to induce the next great scramble for exclusive rights to pay-as-you view television coverage.

This week has been a ...

Good Week for camel racing, as more than 30,000 spectators turned up at a Berlin horse-race track to see the first camel race in northern Europe. "It's a shame we can't place any bets." said one man. "The camels would be ideal for bets because you never know what they are going to do in the middle of the race." Two camels sat down on the track for 15 minutes in mid-race; another stopped two metres from the finishing line.

Fashion: Dogs on the catwalk

How much is that doggy in the window, the one with the blue sequinned frock costing 80 quid? Charlotte Eagar on haute couture for hounds - it makes one simply howl. Styling by Holly Davies. Photographs by Jonathan Root

Stroke tarantulas, pat a python...

Days out: Marwell is a hands-on zoo. By Emma Haughton

Travel: LIVING IN HARMONY

Oman was catapulted into the 20th century less than 40 years ago. The result is gentle social progress and a landscape of rare unsullied beauty

In the wheel world

Nicola Swanborough gets a chain reaction to the Camel Trail between Bodmin and Padstow

Racing: Thoroughbreds shaded by clouds and camels

When you see a lake in the desert it can generally be written off as a mirage, but there was nothing ethereal about the huge puddles around the Nad Al Sheba race-track here yesterday morning. The previous evening's call to prayer had also summoned up a thunderstorm of biblical proportions which raged throughout the night, depositing so much water on this normally bone-dry city that some started to question whether Saturday's Dubai World Cup might succumb to the elements.

Why don't you grow up?

There's nothing so sad as an Old Lad. Paul Quarry decides it's time to sample the pleasures of the more mature lifestyle

girls will be boys

In the new unisex stores and on the street, what's his is hers. Shw wea rs desert boots, flat-front trousers and boys' school shirts.

Camel safaris, canoes and chameleons

MY ROUGH GUIDE

A good year for ...

A final set of records for 1996

Led by wise men

John Eisenhammer treks through the stark beauty of the Sahara
Career Services

Day In a Page

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