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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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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General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat