Arts and Entertainment

Germaine Greer planting some trees, is there a whole book in that? The answer is a resounding “yes” after reading this heartfelt, sharp and meticulously researched account of the author’s decade-long efforts to rebuild a small corner of rainforest in her home country of Australia.

Is the Green Party a real political alternative for students?

They're small and growing, but are the Greens a viable option or a wasted vote?

More sightings of the false widow spider, as Britain's 'most venomous arachnid', with orange legs and white skull markings spotted in Essex

Further sightings of the false widow spider, Britain’s most venomous arachnid, are raising fears following reports that the spider is heading north.

New scheme aims to bring empty homes back into use

Dealing with England's 710,000 empty homes would help to tackle housing shortage.

More than 7,000 buyers have signed up since the scheme was launched in mid-April

New loan scheme aims to bring empty homes back into use

A new scheme hopes to help solve the country’s housing shortage by handing cheap loans to owners of Britain’s 710,000 empty properties.

There's one over here!: Butterfly expert Matthew Oates goes looking for winged beauties

Butterfly watchers of Britain, come out and spread your wings

Tom Bawden meets a leading lepidopterist who says the decline of prejudice has helped his hobby reach new heights

Wild beaver spotted in England for first time in 800 years

The rare sighting could mark a return for the mammal which is popular across the rest of Europe

The 10 Best beach toys

Roll, bowl or surf with these great toys for all the family to make a trip to the seaside an activity-packed day out

Food chain in disarray after changes in voles' boom-and-bust breeding cycle

A small, brown rodent that is a staple source of food for a range of iconic species – from the barn owl to the Arctic fox – has undergone a dramatic and perplexing change in the way it breeds, scientist have found.

Passivhaus: the home that can cut your heating bills by 90%

A Hertford couple have joined a growing global movement which aims to build greener and more energy-efficient homes.

A note uncovered by a BBC News Freedom of Information request showed the organisation made the concession after April 2012 became the wettest on record despite a forecast sent to contingency planners suggesting it was likely to be drier than usual.

The outlook...well, we're not sure actually: Met Office email admits long range forecasts are 'not helpful'

A note uncovered by a BBC News Freedom of Information request showed the organisation made the concession after April 2012 became the wettest on record

Relatively low concentrations of benzodiazepines commonly found in rivers throughout Europe, including Britain, can significantly affect the behaviour of the European perch

Something fishy going on... Antidepressants contaminating rivers make perch antisocial

Drugs used to treat anxiety and depression are contaminating rivers and streams where they are building up in concentrations that can affect the behaviour of wild freshwater fish, scientists have found.

Clay, By Melissa Harrison. Bloomsbury, £14.99

This debut novel by a young writer and photographer blends the ancient and the modern as it traces, over one year, the lives of a small group of characters who live around an inner-city common and its nearby scrap of parkland. As nine-year-old "TC" flees his chaotic tower-block home to find solace and stimulus in the "forgotten, wild corners of the city", and the fauna and flora that stubbornly thrive there, Melissa Harrison draws on the urban pastoral style of writers such as Robert Macfarlane.

Bad newts for some as shopping centre is delayed

Construction on a major new £90m shopping centre in York has been delayed due to a rapidly increasing population of breeding newts.

Editorial: The danger if Italy slips back into its old ways

Mario Monti administered unwelcome but necessary economic medicine to Italy during his year in power and went a long way to restoring his country's respectability in Europe after the long Berlusconi years of corruption, indulgence and inertia. He resigned as Prime Minister this month after Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom party withdrew its support, and now he has decided to offer himself – in what form is not yet clear – for the electorate's approval in the next general election, to be held on 24-25 February. He has already been endorsed by European Union senior figures, including Angela Merkel, and anointed by the Vatican. Yet his political future is anything but clear.

Market Report: Morgan Stanley puts power into Punch

Punch Taverns jumped yesterday after it emerged that Morgan Stanley had hiked its stake in the troubled UK pub owner to 12 per cent. Against a backdrop of discussions with investors about restructuring the business, shares in Punch rose as much as 8.6 per cent in the morning as Morgan Stanley revealed it had increased its stake by 10 per cent to 76.5 million shares. They declined later but still ended up 1.9p, or 2.5 per cent, at 7.6p.

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Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
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By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

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Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
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New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

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Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
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New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

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Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
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The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes