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Group splits up as animals flee, with four taking the odd decision to just stand still in the path of the snow

On the lookout: Skipton’s well-preserved medieval castle

Tales from the Trees: The Lord of the Rings comes to the Yorkshire woodlands

It's not often you can walk from a high street into the heart of an ancient woodland. One minute I am in a bustling Yorkshire market town, takeaway cappuccino in hand, the next I am ducking down stone steps to Eller Beck, a strip of canal and river that runs through a steep-sided gorge fringed with ash, oak, sycamore and pine. The buzzing repartee of stall owners is soon replaced by the songs of robins and chaffinches, shop awnings for a weeping willow in bud.

Nomadic women milk Pashmina goats on the Changthang plateau

Thousands of Pashmina goats perish in India after heaviest snowfall in decades

Thousands of Pashmina goats, the source of famed shawls and blankets and a mainstay of the local Himalayan economy, have perished in northern India in the some of the heaviest snowfall in decades.

Editorial: Straight from the horse's mouth

The death of Richard Briers prompted plaudits and tributes lauding the 79-year-old actor's professional skills and private character in almost equal measure. Well it might. From Hamlet to Ever Decreasing Circles, from Watership Down to Roobarb, for the best part of half a century, Mr Briers has been a much-loved fixture of British television, radio and film.

Serve goat curry with basmati rice and scatter with the sprigs of coriander

Goat curry

Serves 4-6

David Flatman: Signing Alex Corbisiero and his knee allows Saints to be flexible

From the Front Row: Gomarsall looked like Bilbo Baggins dressed up as Boy George

Snowdon: The Story of a Welsh Mountain By Jim Perrin

An iconoclastic survey of Wales's highest mountain peak is infused with the writer's identity

Christmas with the child soldiers

Even as instability continues in the Central African Republic, Unicef are doing everything they can to give former child soldiers a proper Christmas day

This GM breakthrough could be the first of many

An American licence to permit the commercial development and sale of genetically modified salmon could open the door on a new era of GM animals designed for human consumption, although at present there are few signs they are wanted by either consumers or supermarkets.

Golden eagle toddler attack: YouTube clip captures the moment a large bird of prey swoops down and snatches a child - but Canadian students confess it's a hoax

Video proved popular on Twitter, but was produced in animation workshop with the eagle and child added in post-production

Animal rights protesters to picket Hobbit premiere

Animal rights protesters plan to picket the UK premiere of The Hobbit after whistleblowers came forward to claim three horses died unnecessarily during filming.

<b>The Hobbit:</b> Director Peter Jackson is back at work on a two part
adaptation of Tolkein's classic tale

Peta to picket The Hobbit premiere after whistleblower reveals 'preventable' deaths and 'needless suffering' of animals on set

The premiere of the eagerly anticipated blockbuster The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will also be met with angry protests from animal rights activists after a series of animals died during filming.

Gavin Henson

The Scapegoat, By William Holman Hunt

(1854-6), 86.5 x 139.9 cms, National Museums Liverpool, Lady Lever Art Gallery

It is the first time ground tiger claws, which may have come from tigers which were illegally poached, have been found by customs in the UK

Tiger claw products seized at Suffolk port

Herbal remedies and massage oils containing ground tiger claws, poisonous plants and cow urine have been seized by border officials at a UK port.

Five-minute Memoir: Susan Fletcher goes to Jamaica in search of a long-dead relative

As a child, there were words that I knew were part of me, and had resonance. My name, of course; 'red-headed', too; also, the word 'April', for while it meant Easter eggs and school holidays, it also meant my birthday – so it was a special word, to me.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there