Arts and Entertainment

Mohammed Ali  used to boast that when boxing,  he would float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. So it is with Germiane Greer. She writes lightly, gracefully even when agitating for a cause. But the words still sting. And unsettle. Here she consciously creates a quasi-religious epic out of a part of her remarkable life when she decided to restore a small, wrecked rainforest in Australia, her homeland. The tone is apocalyptic, themes existential and critical: (wo)man not against, but ardently for wondrous, pitiless and predatory nature. She, the Lionheart, is awed, meets devastation, fears cataclysms, intuits prophecies, bears historical and biological guilt,  seeks redemption and takes stupendous, fervent  action. It really is some story.

Victorious Australia players lift the World Cup at Old Trafford

Rugby League World Cup: Now we know – no one can live with Kangaroos

In the cold light of day, there was only one thing seriously wrong with the Rugby League World Cup. Australia were just too good.

Fusilier Lee Rigby captured on CCTV footage in the last minutes of his life; the film was played to the Old Bailey

'Butchered like a joint of meat': Jurors gasp as they are shown footage of Lee Rigby murder

Jurors told that Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale drove car straight at him at around 30mph to 40mph

Flying again: Monty Python

Monty Python announce five more dates to 2014 reunion

The shows were added after tickets for the first concerts sold out in 55 minutes

PMQs: Ed Miliband is striding onto centre ground

Meanwhile, though, the Labour leader is doing his best to downplay the heroic role of payday crusader Stella Creasy

Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik of One Direction performing in New York

One Direction graduate to Radio 2 with 'mature sounding' new rock album

Radio 1 and Radio 2 in tug of war after folky strumming and stadium anthems replace bubblegum pop on the group’s new album

National sex survey: One in 10 women in UK forced to have sex against their will

More than 40% of female victims were coerced by a current or former partner

Who cares for our carers?

Vulnerable people need someone acting as an advocate in their corner - whether it's someone in care without family, or the carer on a zero hour contract

Review: Out of Time: The Pleasures and the Perils of Ageing, By Lynne Segal

An engaging exploration of the brutal realities for yesteryear's feminists

Cameron failed to deliver on promise of ‘greenest government ever’, say NGOs

Report claims Coalition’s record on the environment has steadily worsened as more than a third of pledges not met

The help desk: 'I'm a single mother in my forties and I dread any social event'

Q. I'm a single mother in my forties and I think I've begun to develop some kind of social phobia. People think of me as quite a confident person. I'm fine dealing with people in my work and at the school gate (I have two sons aged 11 and 14), but I dread any social event.

A family make their way along a lane in Beijing

Great leap forward: China loosens notorious one-child policy which prevented up to 400m births to bankroll ageing population

Communist Party responds to fears of demographic timebomb

Struggling with bills? Time to sell your home

More than two fifths of people who sell their home to move to a smaller one do so to help reduce their bills.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un attends a parade of the Worker-Peasant Red Guards and a mass rally in Pyongyang in celebration of the 65th anniversary of North Korea

‘Life inside the Secret State’ shows why Kim Jong-il was right to fear the growth of markets

Private trade frays at central authority - and that can only be a good thing

Comedy Review: Frank Skinner, Man In A Suit

Soho Theatre, London

Ten best places to live in the UK: Solihull comes top

Higher incomes, better employment rates and even longer life expectancies can be found just outside of Birmingham

Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
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Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
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Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas
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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
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
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