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.

White Beech: The Rainforest Years by Germaine Greer; book review

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 ITALS PREVIOUS WD 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.

White Beech: The Rainforest Years by Germaine Greer; book review

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 ITALS PREVIOUS WD 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.

Merry Christmas! Here's a snake in a hat.

There's a snake in my hat! Snakes in tiny headgear becomes latest pet trend

Snakes in hats has become the latest pet trend to take online forums by storm, take a look at some of the most stylish here

Postcard from... Montejo de la Sierra

Locals sometimes claim that the centuries-old grove of beech trees in Montejo de la Sierra in Spain is the most southerly in Europe or indeed the world. Not true – that honour goes to a beechwood on the slopes of Mount Etna. But even so there is little doubt the  beech grove running alongside the edge of the River Jarama just north of Madrid is among Spain’s most beautiful and ancient, as well as being very rare for these latitudes.

Obituary: Prince Jazzbo

Obituary: Prince Jazzbo

Reggae artist and producer

Pensioner held hostage in house for four days because of terrifying seagulls

A pensioner became a prisoner in her own home for four days following a terrifying spate of seagull attacks.

The lonesome pines: a third of conifer species put on endangered list

More than a third of the world’s conifer species are threatened with extinction as a result of urbanisation, logging, disease and feral goats, according to an alarming new report.

Artist's impression of 'The Lizard King' Barbaturex morrisoni

Oh, don't ask why: 40 million years after extinction, giant lizard is named after The Doors' 'Lizard King' Jim Morrison

A newly discovered 6ft lizard that is up to 40 million years old has been named after The Door’s frontman Jim Morrison – adding a whole new meaning to the words ‘musical scale’.

Nnow and then: The Mucking landfill site (top) is now a nature park, with a visitor centre (bottom)

Where there's Mucking, there's grass: For 50 years an old quarry was a giant rubbish dump. Now it's a thriving nature reserve

An Essex landfill site which once took 15 per cent of all London's rubbish has been ingeniously transformed into a nature reserve. The tip, full to a depth of 30 metres with the capital's garbage, was first covered with earth and then turned into grassland. Here, and in adjacent wetland and wooded areas, hundreds of rare species now thrive.

The Voice judges Sir Tom Jones, Jessie J, will.i.am and Danny O’Donoghue

The Voice hopefuls reach the 'battle round'

Sparks fly as The Voice reaches the "battle round" stage as two of the acts struggle with a clash of personalities.

A Reef encounter: Falling in love with Australia's natural heritage

We left the ancient rainforest of north Queensland's coast behind us, a ribbon of white sand all that separates those mountain-jungles from the turquoise depths of the Coral Sea. Our 10-seater Cessna spluttered over saltwater crocs basking on the Cairns mudflats, and, as the pilot headed north towards the tip of the Great Barrier Reef, we danced about in the hot currents.

The lizard Obamadon looks on as the carnivorous lizard Palaeosaniwa stalks its Edmontosaurus prey

Taxonomy: Introducing the Obamadon

It's seen as a sign of respect awarded by scientists around the world searching for new species of plant and animal life. Now Barack Obama has the honour of having not one, but three species named after him.

Last Night's Viewing: Natural World Special: Living with Baboons, BBC2
The Toilet – an Unspoken History, BBC4

Anthropomorphism fell out of favour a long time ago in natural history films, all that Disney personification being felt to get in the way of a dispassionate scientific presentation of the facts. But you wouldn't have known it from the opening lines of Rob Sullivan's Natural World Special: Living with Baboons. "As with all families, sometimes they fall out," said David Attenborough with avuncular condescension, as two hamadryas baboons tore chunks out of each other. Shortly before, he'd described the troop veterans as "wise old grandparents who've seen it all before".

A farmer in the south of France says meat from cows fed with wine was ‘tasty’

The Mooo-ton Rothschild for madame? Cows have a tipple to beef up flavour

The French are known to like their beef, and they also like their wine. In the southern village of Lunel-Viel, in the Hérault department in southern France, some farmers have taken the next step and are feeding wine to their beef cattle on the principle that if French beef tastes good now, it can only improve with a bottle of Saint-Geniès des Mourgues.

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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