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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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