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This millennium, Britain’s dragonfly contingent has been in the throes of revolution. Several sparkling species have crossed the sea to start colonising the UK. In this ambitious itinerary, you might see up to seven magnificent dragonflies unknown in Britain two decades previously.

New York plans to cull wild mute swans

The birds' beauty belies their often menacing and destructive nature 

The War Behind the Wire by John Lewis-Stempel; book review

Colditz; the Great Escape; Bridge on the River Kwai and, recently, the Railway Man. Parodies of them by everyone from Beyond the Fringe to Russ Abbott. All second world war. Memoir after memoir. And yet with the single, powerful exception of the French classic La Grande Illusion, the prisoners of the Great War have gone largely unchronicled.

Beak season: Pink-footed geese are found inland

Wildlife Weekend: Wintering birds in the Kingdom of Fife

Spend most of the first day in Largo Bay, south-west of Kirkcaldy. There may be no finer location to watch the wintering seaduck for which Scotland is renowned. If the tide is high and the sun shining, start with the light behind you at the bay’s eastern edge, Ruddon’s Point. Look westwards for dense black rafts of scoters, mainly common scoter. A flash of white wings draws your attention to velvet scoters secreted among them. Check the flock carefully and you could even see surf scoter. There is no more regular British site for this North American visitor.

Christmas TV review: Mel Smith: I’ve Sort of Done Things was a spirited tribute to a hell-raising comic who was a master of playing it by ear

Mel Smith was a gambler, a smoker, a drinker, a liver of a life. As such, Christmas Eve’s tribute to his work, Mel Smith: I’ve Sort of Done Things (BBC2), was less a maudlin tribute to a man who died young– whatever his excesses – at 60 in July than a tribute to his powers of imbibition (they called it “getting Smithed”).

An Edwardian gazebo in Kingston, passed as you meander along the river Thames

Walk of the month: Kingston upon Thames - Red bricks and boxes on the riverbank

The Thames Path combines history with nature as it forges towards the capital from Hampton Court Palace

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.

HIV positive predatory paedophile and his accomplice who led 'double lives' sentenced to life for abusing boys as young as thirteen

The pair used social networks, such as Bebo and Facebook, as well as specialist gay websites to groom boys

Crispy cheek and dandelion salad with roast pork

James Moore: Young and old can take heart – at least it’s not as bad as in Mexico

Outlook: Only way of being certain of a retirement in relative comfort is to join the public sector

Meat detector that distinguishes between beef and horsemeat is unveiled

Retailers will soon be able to distinguish almost instantly between beef and horsemeat in products, thanks to a bench-top device built by British engineers.

Cate Le Bon: 'Toko Yasuda has the voice of a beautiful ghost'

Fantasy band: Cate Le Bon

'Toko Yasuda has the voice of a beautiful ghost'

‘Pearl’, £75, The Meadham Kirchhoff Collection, amazon.co.uk

iStyle: An unusual tie-up - silk scarves

London label Meadham Kirchhoff has created a covetable collection of silk scarves for  Amazon. Get clicking, says Rebecca Gonsalves

£129, zara.com

iStyle: Caped crusaders

There is a certain undeniable theatrical element to wearing a cape; the exact amount of swashbuckling, however, is entirely up to the wearer, says Emma Akbareian

iStyle: Easy does it: Workwear with Californian roots

Banana Republic has come a long way from its adventurewear origins, says Rebecca Gonsalves

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Jack Cooksey goes for the grand unveiling - moments before dropping his new iPhone 6 on the floor
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Customers look at the new iPhones on display at the launch of the new Apple iPhone 6 and iphone 6 plus at the Apple IFC store in Hong Kong
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Independent Travel
Panama
Languedoc Roussillon
Marrakesh & the Atlas Mountains
Bruges
The Jura Mountains
Dubrovnik & the Dalmatian Coast
Prices correct as of 17 September 2014
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week