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.

Danny Boyle, with London 2012 crew and volunteers, unveils a model of the Opening Ceremony yesterday

Danny Boyle makes pledge on Olympic opening ceremony animals

Danny Boyle, the artistic director of the opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics, has sent a hand-written letter to animal rights campaigners pledging that no harm will come to the animals used in the making of his show.

Wimbledon hawk Rufus stolen from car

The hawk that patrols Wimbledon to deter pigeons has been stolen, police said.

Danny Boyle, with London 2012 crew and volunteers, unveils a model of the Opening Ceremony yesterday

Olympics opening ceremony animals to be spared the abattoir

It might not feel like it at the time, but selection for the Olympics is not normally a matter of life and death. At least until now.

Lonesome George was the last remaining tortoise of his kind

The tragically early death of Lonesome George (1912-2012)

The giant tortoise's demise means his kind are extinct. Michael McCarthy pays tribute and asks which species is next

Scraps of paper? No, they're Matisse's last masterpiece

Previously unseen cut-outs by father of modern art donated to museums by his family

RAF jets 'caused chicks' deaths'

The RAF has been accused of causing the deaths of kittiwake chicks when jets flew low over their island nesting sites and scared tens of thousands of birds.

Charities call on Londoners to help save the 'Cockney Sparra'

The chirruping of the cockney sparra was once commonplace, but now, ten years since a study found that the bird was on the verge of extinction in the capital, charities are calling on Londoners to help save it.

Rare great white egret chick hatches in UK for first time

A great white egret chick has hatched in England, making a new breeding bird record for the UK, Natural England has said.

The numbers of buzzards are recovering after years of decline in Britain

Another day, another U-turn – plan for buzzard cull given the bird

Controversial plans to shotgun-blast the nests of buzzards to help out pheasant shooters were abruptly dropped by the Government yesterday, 24 hours after they were extensively highlighted and criticised in i.

Buzzard 'capture' scheme dropped

The Government has dropped a controversial scheme allowing buzzards to be taken into captivity and their nests destroyed to protect pheasant shoots.

The buzzard (left) and the pheasant

Minister sanctions buzzard nest blasting for 'research'

From the end of this week, Britain's minister for wildlife is sending men to destroy the nests of wild buzzards by blasting them with shotguns.

Leading article: No possible excuse for destroying buzzard nests

Game shooting – the blasting of large numbers of pheasants and other birds out of the sky for enjoyment – has so far escaped the widespread opprobrium attached to fox hunting, largely because it takes place out of the public gaze. But that may be about to change.

The buzzard (left) and the pheasant

Richard Benyon: The bird-brained minister

He is meant to be the Government's wildlife champion. So why is Richard Benyon backing a plan to destroy the nests of protected birds of prey in the interests of pheasant shooters?

RSPB voices shock at buzzard plans

Conservationists have condemned plans that would allow buzzard nests to be destroyed and the birds of prey taken into captivity to protect pheasant shoots.

The spoonbill, left, and a purpleheron

European egrets move to Somerset – for the weather

Warming climate may have enticed first pair of the Continental herons to mate in Britain

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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
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
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Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable