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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

The new glitterati: Adding sparkle to the autumn wardrobe

A liberal sprinkling of rhinestones and crystals adds a welcome touch of sparkle to everyday life, says Kate Rose Morris

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
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Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
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?

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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
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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