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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.

Pet shows Britain is littered with brave owners

Although it was the moggies who were up for awards at the weekend's Supreme Cat Show at the Birmingham NEC, I reckon the owners who took them there probably deserved a prize … for bravery.

Ruan Pienaar will be at the heart of all that South Africa do today

Brian Smith: Boks are so brutal I’ve known players pleading to come off...

Coaches view: Playing the Boks you find yourself up against big blokes who don’t like you

Beast of Bodmin</br>
We love a big cat (see also the Surrey Puma) but none more than that stalking Bodmin. Proof eludes those who seek it, but dumb sheep across Cornwall remain fearful.

Wildlife: A beastly beasts hall of fame

The often-disgusted residents of Tunbridge Wells are apparently also terrified after sightings of a ginger "Bigfoot" lookalike with demonic eyes, The Sun reports. A walker recorded the latest contact with the hairy giant in woods beside the Kent town, giving it a place in a (totally bogus) hall of fame featuring British beasts as diverse as mermaids, monsters and big cats. Here are three of the most celebrated.

She might be 40, but Hello Kitty is one cool cat

For a cat who's nearing 40, Hello Kitty shows no signs of slowing down – something her global legions of fans will surely be pleased about.

Man who put cat in tumble drier jailed

A man who put his cat in a tumble drier and posted the footage on YouTube has been jailed.

Cat killed after firework strapped to its back explodes

A cat was killed when a firework which was strapped to its back exploded.

Lolcat: Teh Exhibishun – picture preview

The internet meme inspires yet another art show

Reports of stray or unwanted cats have risen by a third in three years

Cruel for cats: Hard times for humans lead to an epidemic of stray pets

People are letting cats breed to sell the kittens, but if they aren't sold they are often just abandoned

Owner reunited with lost cat six years on

The owner of a cat which disappeared six years ago has spoken of her delight and surprise after finding him walking in the street.

Aww bless, cute pictures make you clever

A real study by proper scientists has shown that taking breaks to look at fluffy kittens improves concentration.

A cuteness-triggered positive emotion prompted by images of baby animals. The effect is associated with taking motivation from anything that gives you happiness, pleasure, or joy.

It's Friday - need some help concentrating at work? Have a look at this picture...

Japanese study shows looking at cute pictures of baby animals can improve concentration

Slimline pets now fighting fit after PDSA competition

A group of pets has gone from fat to fit after taking part in an animal slimming competition.

Education Secretary Michael Gove has emerged with a new set of heavy-rimmed spectacles

An unbiased appraisal of Michael Gove's new specs

Who's the coolest member of the Coalition? Jazz fan Ken Clarke? Mick Jones's cousin Grant Shapps? The competition, with respect to Danny Alexander and Oliver Letwin, isn't too fierce.

Ex put up with Justin Lee Collins' abuse because he was 'love of her life', court hears

The ex-girlfriend of comedian and TV presenter Justin Lee Collins was on the verge of tears today as she said she had put up with the abusive relationship because he was the love of her life.

From London to Edinburgh, Mice are causing chaos

Vermin: Mighty mice are having their moment in the sun

"The mice at this station have been attacking customers," reads a sign at the entrance to Farringdon Tube station in London. "Please place the bottom of your trousers into your socks to avoid being a victim of the Farringdon mice."

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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
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent