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Conservative halve Labour’s poll lead

Leading article: No strings attached to this War Horse

Steven Spielberg's interest in the sentimental is well documented. The man could buy the rights to a trigonometry text book and find a way to wring a tear from its pages on the silver screen.

Rebecca Tyrrel: 'At least Billie Piper never threw a cat in a wheelie bin'

Who knew that, before she became a child pop sensation at 15, Billie Piper's guilty pleasure was throwing animals? For a while in the early 1990s, it was literally raining cats and dogs in Swindon. "I used to pick up animals on the street," she confessed in a questionnaire, "and launch them as far as I could."

Granular poison frog (Oophaga granulifera) Listed as vulnerable on the Red List of Threatened Species, mainly because its severely fragmented range covers an area of less than 20,000 sqkm in Costa Rica and Panama, and is getting smaller due to farming, logging and human settlements

Amphibians face faster demise from multiple threats

Many of the world's amphibians are likely to go extinct faster than expected because of a combination of environmental threats working in unison, a study has found.

Granular poison frog (Oophaga granulifera) Listed as vulnerable on the Red List of Threatened Species, mainly because its severely fragmented range covers an area of less than 20,000 sqkm in Costa Rica and Panama, and is getting smaller due to farming, logging and human settlements

Amphibians face raised extinction threat

Many of the world's amphibians, which include frogs, toads, newts and salamanders, could die out faster than expected this century, a study has found.

Guido Fawkes (Paul Staines), Jamie East, founder of 'Holy Moly', and Richard Wilson, blogger, David Allen Green, Jack of Kent blog and legal correspondent of the New Statesman

The Sketch: 'The culture clash was no more pronounced when Badger got Toad in to give him a good talking to'

On this side - peers and senior MPs of the Joint Privacy and Injunctions Committee; parliamentarians of age, honour and wisdom. On that side - tweeters, bloggers and other internet riff raff - that is, heroes of the modern age, who live and die by their reputation.

Cane Toads: The Conquest 3D (PG)

I'm afraid so: a documentary, in 3D, about... toads.

You can take the slow lane all the way down this river

The busy Canal du Midi isn't the only place to take a river cruise. Sarah Donnelly boards a solar-powered boat for a new tour of the Lot

Parents 'turned in teenage looter'

A teenager was "frog-marched" to a police station after his parents saw photos of him looting, a court heard today.

Album: Little Dragon, Ritual Union (Peace Frog)

Collaborations with Gorillaz and Big Boi have made the Swedish quartet Little Dragon one of the more intriguing new prospects, arousing an interest which the piquant electro-soul stylings of Ritual Union more than bear out.

Scientists discover toad species last seen in 1924

Scientists scouring the mountains of Borneo have found a toad species last seen in 1924 by European explorers and thought to be extinct.

Trail of the unexpected: Paris' coffee culture

Parisian coffee was once a bitter black mark on French cuisine. No longer, says Tilly Culme-Seymour

Book Of A Lifetime: Charlotte's Web, By EB White

I was a child who loved reading. I was crazy for the world of books, a world I felt was much more exciting than the one I actually lived in. To have some of the thrill of story, I would try and put myself in the way of adventure in my "real" life. Usually this involved riding my bike around the neighbourhood, or squelching through the pond opposite my house. For a long stretch of days one summer, I stood at the window of my bedroom, notebook in hand, looking for suspicious people to document. I made my little brother stand with me, as my assistant. His job was to look up the street while I looked down.

DJ Taylor: We're all in the same boat, even old Toad

False assumptions over the poor, hard realities for university dons, 'tradesmen' in publishing and trouble down on the riverbank

Nature Studies by Mike McCarthy: Worth being awake at 3am to hear this sound

Of all our imaginings, one of the most resonant is the idea of transformation. We are instantly fascinated by people changing identities, by things becoming different things, by frogs which turn into princes. Perhaps it's because one of our principal holds on reality is our instinctive belief, so hard to dislodge, that form is fixed, not fluid, and so to encounter any fundamental shift in form or nature gives us a jolt. Not that we do come across such shifts much, in the real world – the caterpillar changing into a butterfly is the prime exception – but our myths and legends and stories are chock-fullof them.

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Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
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Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star