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Colonel Meow, the cat with the longest fur in the world and the brooding face of an evil genius, has sadly passed away.

Huge rise in cruelty convictions pushing RSPCA to 'breaking point'

A huge rise in the number of pet owners convicted of animal cruelty is pushing the RSPCA to “breaking point”, the charity said.

Paradox: The Nine Greatest Enigmas in Science, By Professor Jim Al-Khalili

The curiousness of the dark in the night time

Rebecca Armstrong: Why do bidders go bonkers for celebrity ephemera?

Earplugs for sale. One careful owner. It's not quite Ernest Hemingway's famous, poignant six-word story ("For sale: baby shoes, never worn") but when the owner in question is Sir Winston Churchill, there's a strange level of excitement about auctioning a set of sleeping aids. The wax pellets in question were sold in an auction on Friday for the prime-ministerial sum of £1,650, having had a reserve price of £2,000.

<p>1. John Lewis Winter Snow Goose Down</p>
<p>£150, johnlewis.com</p>
<p>A supremely comfortable pillow using down from geese native to Russia's glacial mountains.</p>

The 10 Best pillows

1. John Lewis Winter Snow Goose Down

£150, johnlewis.com

A supremely comfortable pillow using down from geese native to Russia's glacial mountains.

'George III' and 'Queen Charlotte' at the RA – both painted by Johan Zoffany in 1771

Johan Zoffany RA: Society Observed, Royal Academy, London

A German-born observer of British society is eclipsed today by Gainsborough and Reynolds, but his pictures, decoded, are revealing

On reflection: Henrietta Lidchi, world cultures keeper, with one of Ankhhor’s coffins at Fascinating Mummies, which advances our knowledge of the Egyptians

Fascinating Mummies, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

The wonders of ancient science – it's amazing what you can learn from a cat scan ...

DVD: Lady and the Tramp (U)

"He's a self-confessed chicken thief, and all-around sleazeball," is how scoffing Josh described the Tramp in The Last Days of Disco.

Whatever killed Gloucestershire deer, it wasn't a panther...

DNA tests have concluded that a mystery beast lurking in the Gloucestershire countryside, suspected of being responsible for grisly attacks on deer, is not the "big cat" that locals feared.

I Married You For Happiness, By Lily Tuck

The professor and the painter:a marriage made in heaven

Get with the beasts: a big game hunter's guide to modern Britain

Reports of a big cat going wild near Stroud only scratch the surface. Tom Peck and Joshua Carroll investigate

The carcass of this deer bears the hallmarks of a killing by a big cat

Will DNA tests solve the mystery of Gloucestershire big cat sightings?

It began with dark mutterings in the local pub, that a strange beast might be stalking the woods around the little village of Woodchester, savaging the local wildlife and frightening local dog walkers.

Ex-councillor jailed for cat deaths

A former councillor who killed four kittens in "appalling scenes" of "unimaginable cruelty" has been jailed.

Glenn Tilbrook, Blackheath Halls, London

Back in 2004 Glenn Tilbrook, his wild hair sticking out like Christopher Lloyd's Doc in Back to the Future, cheerfully tore through a short set of Squeeze classics in support of an awed Fountains of Wayne, the US equivalent of Squeeze.

1. Terry Pratchett Discworldforbiddenplanet.com

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The 10 best Calendars

Whether you like poetry, pop stars or polar bears, with this selection you can make 2012 the year you get organised

Rebecca Tyrrel: 'At least Billie Piper never threw a cat in a wheelie bin'

Who knew that, before she became a child pop sensation at 15, Billie Piper's guilty pleasure was throwing animals? For a while in the early 1990s, it was literally raining cats and dogs in Swindon. "I used to pick up animals on the street," she confessed in a questionnaire, "and launch them as far as I could."

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3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
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War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?