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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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 15 May 2015
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific