News A male Asiatic lion guarding his cub at London Zoo

To most of us, lions are African, but many of the great beasts of legend were Indian. Now a zoo plans to breed more of them

US TV presenter Melissa Bachman poses with a dead male lion in South Africa

Elephant Appeal: The night of the hunter

Is there a place for hunting in conservation, with the money it earns put back in to stop poaching?

Bryce Brown #34 of the Philadelphia Eagles is tackled by Glover Quin #27 of the Detroit Lions

NFL: A blizzard helps blow in the liveliest weekend of the season so far

A round-up of the latest events and talking points from the world of NFL

Roy Hodgson's England side will begin the 2014 World Cup in Manaus, where fans have been warned of meeting alligators during the night

World Cup 2014: England v Italy kick-off could change from 2am start as Manaus tourist board warn of 'alligator risk'

Broadcasters want the 2am GMT kick-off brought forward while fans have been warned that 'it is possible to meet alligators at night' in the Amazonian city

Jonny Wilkinson's Toulon travel to take on Exeter

Heineken Cup: Toulon test for Baxter’s boys as Harlequins battle to stay alive

If Morecambe and Wise had been blessed with Premier Rugby’s sledgehammer sense of timing, the celebrated Andre Previn sketch would have been about as side-splittingly funny as a David Cameron one-liner.

Rant and everyone soon tends to ignore you (a 1936 orator seeking a crowd at Speaker's Corner in London's Hyde Park)

Why have I started lecturing people in the streets? Maybe because I consider it a form of public service

Favoured topics are matters of practical morality, dress sense, litter – that sort of thing

On climate, we need a global carbon market with its own ‘federal reserve’

Immediate action is more than ever dependent on channeling the private sector

Circus Krone is home to 200 animals including lions, tigers, zebras, elephants, a rhino and sea lions

Jamie Cullum accused of condoning animal cruelty over performance at wild animal circus

'No animals featured and he does not condone the use of live animals as a form of entertainment' says his spokesman

The Rabbit Back (Literature society), By Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen, Translated by Lola Rogers - Paperback review

Rabbit Back is a small town in Finland; and a very strange one. Everyone’s garden is full of mythological statuary: elves, forest nymphs, gnomes, goblins. The town’s most famous resident is the reclusive children’s writer, Laura White, who runs a literature society and trains a limited number of gifted locals to become writers – there are nine, and she is still looking for the tenth and final member.

Ashes 2013-14: Monty Panesar return a possibility

Selection options for the Second Ashes Test starting on Thursday revolve around how to fill a Trott-sized hole and which bowlers to use, writes Stephen Brenkley in Alice Springs

Edwina Currie unveils the new version of the British Lion Code of Practice at Portcullis House in London

A safe pair of hands? Edwina Currie launches egg safety code

Edwina Currie, the former Health minister who once nearly bankrupted Britain’s egg producers, has been chosen to promote the new version of the red British Lion, which tells you that an egg is safe to eat.

The female Asian elephant, pictured here with her mother Rose-Tu at the Oregon Zoo, is at the centre of a custody battle

They're gay, they grieve and they're left-handed: Elephants are just like humans

Elephants are more like humans than you may realise...

Jonny Bairstow

Ashes 2013-14: Who should be picked for the second Test - Jonny Bairstow, Gary Ballance or Ben Stokes?

The three are vying for a place in the Test side following the departure of Jonathan Trott

Wales’ Alex Cuthbert is back from injury and hoping to repeat his Lions try against Australia

Wales v Australia: British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland warns: These Aussies are different

Decision making in rugby is not always of the highest order: as the pathetic failure of leadership at Heineken Cup level demonstrates all too painfully, it is only on an unusually good day that some of those running the sport aspire to mediocrity. Yet Warren Gatland, who masterminded the British and Irish Lions victory in Australia last summer, believes the new Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie made an inspired and brave call in throwing the disciplinary book at 15 members of his tour squad last week.

Gloucester sign Sila Puafisi to boost forward drive

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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game