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

Rugby Union Correspondent

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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
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Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
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