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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This artist impression shows a modern-day Atlantis
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Vladimir Putin fixes a GPS satellite transmitter onto a tiger in 2008
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Animals found with 'puncture holes the size of a human finger'

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Food blogger and Guardian writer Jack Monroe with her young son
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Fraud contributes 11p to a £2.00 box of half a dozen eggs
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Video: The official full-length trailer for the Jurassic Park sequel has dropped – two days early

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The plant ‘Nepenthes zygon’ was donated to Kew in 2004
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booksPhotographer snapped celebrities for 40 years - but it wasn’t all fun and games
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital