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.

Want to know where the real drama is? In everyday women’s lives

Juliet Stevenson feels TV offers only "colourless" roles for middle-aged women

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt with the Prime Minister, David Cameron

Inside Whitehall: Cameron and Hunt know the next leader of NHS England could cost them an election

These decisions should have been ones for NHS England. Mr Hunt should not have been involved

Nearly 60 per cent of dissolutions in 2012 were female couples

Lesbian couples twice as likely as gay men to end civil partnership as 'divorces' up by 20%

Lesbian couples are nearly twice as likely as gay men to end a civil partnership, according to the latest government figures.

Girl Reading (Malala Yousafazi) by Jonathan Yeo is to go on show at the National Portrait Gallery

Malala must not fall victim to our expectations

As Barack Obama found out, receiving a Nobel Peace Prize can come with a set of unintended and unpleasant consequences

Don't let skills of the elderly go to waste

We would view it as a tragedy if young people were left to languish

Review: Doctor Sleep, By Stephen King

All work and no play... has the master of horror lost his shine?

Gurugu Mountain: Where Africa’s economic migrants wait to cross into Europe

Braving razor-wire surrounding the Spanish enclave of Melilla in Morocco is the first step

Jay Z knows about budgets - he was a drug dealer: celebrity advice on narcotics

From Charlie Sheen to Lance Armstrong, what have the rich and famous told us?

Sinead O'Connor warns Miley Cyrus: 'They will prostitute you for all you are worth'

Has O'Connor forgotten that she was once just as controversial?

Helen Fielding poses for Vogue; the writer's new instalment of Bridget Jones

'A woman's sell-by date is getting later and later': Helen Fielding on fame, modern women and Bridget Jones

Novelist tells Vogue magazine how she found her huge success hard to deal with

Sweden ranked as the best place to grow old in report

World population is aging so fast most countries are not adequately prepared to support their swelling numbers of elderly people says report

James McAvoy as a drug-addled, booze-sodden, totally depraved policeman

James McAvoy denies claim that he would play Jimmy Savile on the big screen

Actor James McAvoy has denied the claim that he would play disgraced TV presenter Jimmy Savile if novelist Irvine Welsh ever wrote a script about the sex predator.

Red hot seat: Manager David Moyes watches his side losing 2-1 at home to West Bromwich Albion. United’s third League defeat of the season leaves them a lowly 12th in the table

Manchester United 1 West Bromwich Albion 2 match report: David Moyes under pressure as Albion show magic is gone

Manager bemoans another poor performance as his United side suffers second successive defeat

Four charged over Leicester house fire that killed mother and three children

A 16-year-old and three other men have been charged with murder after a fatal house fire in Leicester killed four members of the same family.

100 not out! Number of centenarians increases five-fold in just 30 years

Warning of future shock to pensions and health service as thousands reach age of 100

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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