The chalkhill blue butterfly population has exploded on many of Britain's downs in July

A good year for nature in Britain, despite the cold: After frostiest March for 50 years, summer gave rise to an explosion in wildlife

'We had a wonderful July,' says National Trust specialist. 'The way nature fought back was miraculous; it went into overdrive'

Banana-nap: a woman rests at her banana stall in Manaus, Brazil

Why we must save the banana

The healthy snack is under threat, with insect plagues reducing global supplies. Rosie Millard wonders where we’d be without the lovable fruit and its comic potential

'Robot dragonfly' is the smallest and lightest self-navigating drone

The miniature robot weighs just 20g and can fly without human guidance; it could map abandoned buildings or masquerade as a fairy at a theme park

Toxic toys which can cause cancer have been seized at a Kent market

Cancer inducing toys seized from market stall

‘Fruit-head’ dolls which can also cause deformities in unborn babies and infertility in men have been found at a market in Kent

Scientists ‘incredibly concerned’ for fate of banana as plagues and fungus infections spread across world’s supplies

Warning comes as Costa Rica declares 'national emergency' over state of crop

The 10 Best Christmas puddings 2013

If you haven’t found time to make your Christmas pud, don’t despair. We select the finest of this fruity festive staple

British households threw away 7.2 million tons of food in 2011

Tales from the Water Cooler: Bottle sniffers are far worse than carrot fascists

I shop at Tesco. I tell you this not in a crass effort to get a tenner off my next shop, but to illustrate that I am quite close to the story about which I shall now ruminate. (Anyway, I shop at Tesco because it is closest to my house. As far as I’m concerned, an aisle is an aisle is an aisle, however it is branded.)

The bottle of Cole Cold Pear D fruit drink which killed Joromie Lewis

Man dies after drinking Cole Cold Pear-D juice laced with cocaine

The Food Standards Agency has issued a warning after a man died as a result of drinking pear juice laced with cocaine.

Anthony Rose: 'A magnum is the most generous way to celebrate'

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.

Weekend work: Time to prune trained fruit trees

WHAT TO DO

Wine: Something for the weekend?

Night in

Cambridge University's Trinity College

Don’t believe the hype: Oxbridge interviews are there to be enjoyed

If you're sat at home fretting about weird old dons setting fiendish logic puzzles - don't!

Boris Johnson said people with high IQs would succeed because 'the harder you shake the pack, the easier it will be for some cornflakes to get to the top'

Boris Johnson fails to give any correct answers to IQ test live on air

Quiz came in the wake of the London mayor's comments controversial comments about poor people not succeeding because of low IQs

IQ row comments misinterpreted, says Boris Johnson

Mayor of London sparked a wave of criticism when he said that 16 per cent of 'our species' had an IQ of less than 85

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Shock of the news: Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Nightcrawler’
filmReview: Gyllenhaal, in one of his finest performances, is funny, engaging and sinister all at once
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Taste the difference: Nell Frizzell tucks into a fry-up in Jesse's cafe in east London
food + drinkHow a bike accident left one woman living in a distorted world in which spices smell of old socks and muesli tastes like pork fat
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Kit Harington has been given a huge pay rise to extend his contract as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones
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Independent Travel
Vietnam & Cambodia
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Bruges
India & Nepal
Japan
Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
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
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
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"