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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

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.

Dinosaur wind 'altered climate'

Huge plant-eating dinosaurs may have produced enough greenhouse gas by breaking wind to alter the Earth's climate, research suggests.

The beasts of the field must be puzzled by humans

A N Wilson: If Raisa could only talk, imagine what she'd neigh

Our writer finds in the story of the police horse lent to Rebekah Brooks a Swiftian satire that highlights animal nobility and human awfulness

Animal virus detected on 74 farms

A new animal disease that causes birth defects and miscarriages in livestock has now been found on 74 farms in England.

John Walsh: Nailcare really is a worthy school subject

The current kerfuffle about "academic" and "non-academic" school subjects – on the difference between "proper" subjects like History and Maths and "soft" or "vocational" ones that lead only to "Mickey Mouse qualifications" – seems hopelessly misguided. Whatever the value or otherwise of their appearance on school league tables, vocational subjects shouldn't be casually dismissed by traditionalists. I want to make the case that almost all subjects (with the usual proviso about incest and folk dancing) are worthy of the concentrated attention of schoolchildren.

SBV has been found to be associated with miscarriages, stillbirths and congenital abnormalities

Farmers on red alert over outbreaks of new livestock disease

A new livestock disease which causes birth deformities in sheep, cattle and goats has been identified in Britain for the first time.

Safe harbour: An aerial view of Sydney and her islands

Reach across the water: Sydney Harbour's islands provide a great escape from the crowds

Sydney Harbour is one of the great travel icons – its Opera House and the Harbour Bridge form an enduring shorthand for a fine city. All the more surprising, then, that the harbour's islands are overlooked by most visitors.

Portfolio: Sharon Montrose

How do you persuade an energetic infant monkey to pause long enough for a photograph? You don't. "I put the camera in front of him, let him do whatever he wanted and tried to capture his natural charm," says Sharon Montrose. "Of course, you do need a lot of patience for that."

Britain develops a taste for goat

British butchers are heralding the arrival of a new alternative for the roasting dish – goat meat.

Why did I keep reading 'My Pet Goat'? To give people confidence, says Bush

He wasn't rattled; instead, George W Bush was attempting to project an aura of calm as he mulled over news that terrorists had flown hijacked aeroplanes into the World Trade Centre in New York.

Around the world in 80 dishes No. 57: Broad beans and goat's cheese on toast

Ingredients to serve four as a tapas

Bin Laden files 'reveal petty office politics within al-Qa'ida'

There's no escaping office politics, even when you're administering global jihad. Intelligence recovered from Osama bin Laden's final hideaway shows senior figures within al-Qa'ida caught up in petty squabbles and back-stabbing.

Le Quattro Volte, Michelangelo Frammartino, 88 mins, U

Slow Italian art cinema might not set the pulse racing, but be patient: with barely a word of dialogue, this gentle drama is beautiful, mysterious and funny
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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
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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