Life and Style

Is there anything more festive than a magnum? Apart from a double magnum perhaps, a magnificent magnum is the most generous way to celebrate a great day with friends and family. It also keeps better than a bottle, so squirrel one away.

Secret life of the Empire State killer

The fatal shooting of two men is just one more episode in America's summer of gun sprees

Zoology: P-p-p pick up a penguin to see if it's p-p-p put on weight

I would love to weigh a penguin. I wouldn't mind assessing a stoat, either, or taking the inside leg measurements of a baby giraffe. A tarantula spider, however – well, not so much. At London Zoo this week, however, it isn't just the warm-eyed, cuddly creatures that will be given a once-over as part of the annual "weigh-in".

Southern Indians left penniless after emu investment scheme bosses disappear leaving thousands of birds to starve

When someone came up with the idea of breeding emus in southern India it sounded like a sure-fire way to prosperity. The meat could be sold to restaurants, the hide turned into leather.

Pappy's: Last Show Ever, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh

After some muted outings, the sketch group Pappy's are back to their lovable best, on the kind of form that saw them shortlisted for Edinburgh's comedy award in 2007 and will probably get them a place on this year's list, too.

Album: Nora Gubisch, Alain Altinoglu, Ravel: Mélodies
(Naïve)

Ravel effected an understated formal revolution in vocal music, the pieces performed here by mezzo-soprano Nora Gubisch with pianist Alain Altinoglu being notable for their commitment to textual interpretation rather than sheer operatic grandeur.

Sarah Kendall: Get Up, Stand-Up, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

“So what happened in the first 15 minutes, did you just not like me?” asks Sarah Kendall of her audience at the end of her show. Observational comedians are supposed to say what everyone else is thinking but on this matter, Kendall is too close to the bone: her audience tonight just don’t buy into her.

When a Crocodile Eats the Sun, by Peter Godwin

Peter Godwin has written three pretty-much universally acclaimed, semi-autobiographical books about Zimbabwe. While When a Crocodile Eats the Sun is one of my favourite books of all time, I have yet to read the other two because I loved this one so intensely. It demanded so much, was so colourful, so wise, so... well, edifying, that I feel as though I have to do something amazingly heroic to earn the privilege of reading his others. It's anal, I know. I apply the same cracked logic to the books of my other all-time favourite author, Thomas Mann. Godwin – like Mann – writes literary caviar.

Hubbard's Cupboard: At least this time they are not shooting live pigeons...

The man with incredible tales...

Sixteen gulls found dead in Eastbourne resort

Sixteen gulls have been found dead in a seaside resort within the past week, prompting the RSPCA to call for greater tolerance of the birds.

Leading article: A delicate issue in Franco-American relations

The French are sensitive about their favourite dishes, as the fierce response to California's ban on the sale of foie gras has illustrated.

Campaigners win Woolley Valley land battle

A campaign group has won a High Court battle over the agricultural use of Green Belt land formerly owned by broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby for intensive poultry farming.

Aesop's fable experiment highlights how differently children and crows learn about the world

An experiment based on an Aesop's fable has shown how differently children and crows learn about the world.

A farmer force-feeds grain to a duck to produce foie gras

French call for Californian wine boycott as US state bans foie gras

Aggrieved diplomats in Paris to raise issue with US ambassador

Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who runs a restaurant empire from Puerto Rico to Hong Kong to London: 'In Bali, my favourite restaurant serves only duck, which you eat with your hands'

My Life In Food: Jean-Georges Vongerichten, chef, Spice Market

'In bali, my favourite restaurant serves only duck, which you eat with your hands'

Probe under way after 30 swans found dead in Cardiff

An investigation is under way after the mysterious deaths of 30 swans in Cardiff.

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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 17 April 2015
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...