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.

The numbers of buzzards are recovering after years of decline in Britain

Buzzards free to nest in peace as minister drops shooting plans

Protected birds earn reprieve after sudden U-turn

Animal rights activists halt transportation of laboratory animals

Vital medical research is being "choked off" because airlines and ferry companies are refusing to bring animals into the country for testing in the face of pressure from animals' rights activists, a former science minister has warned.

The beasts of the field must be puzzled by humans

A N Wilson: If Raisa could only talk, imagine what she'd neigh

Our writer finds in the story of the police horse lent to Rebekah Brooks a Swiftian satire that highlights animal nobility and human awfulness

Wild animals to be banned from circus

Ministers will today dash hopes of an immediate ban on the use of wild animals in circuses.

Lonely at the top: llamas graze at the Inca site of Machu Picchu in Peru

The Great Divide: History and Human Nature in the Old World and the New, By Peter Watson

The Great Divide is one of several recent books on the deep ecological roots of human history, a trend begun by Jared Diamond with Guns, Germs and Steel (1997). Peter Watson takes some leads from Diamond but goes much further in his attempt to rescue the pre-Columbian world of the Americas from the contempt and even hatred expressed by many at the time of the 2009 Aztec exhibition at the British Museum. One article called the artefacts on display "As evil as Nazi lampshades made from human skin".

Travel Challenge: An August break in Bali

Every week we invite competing travel companies to give us their best deal for a specific holiday. Today: a 10-day trip to the Indonesian island of Bali in August. Prices are per person based on two sharing. All prices include flights departing from Heathrow and transfers.

The joys of spring: 20 reasons to be cheerful

Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, the days are getting brighter. Michael McCarthy celebrates a special time of year

Nasty by Nature: disgusting animal habits

From vomiting at attackers to squirting blood from their eyeballs, a new documentary examines the most revolting activities in the animal kingdom

Lizard species discovered – on a restaurant menu

A new species of lizard has become a legend in its own lunchtime after being identified by scientists from the menu of a local restaurant in the region of Vietnam where it lives.

Edinburgh festival's high flyers

For decades, they've been cheap and gaudy, but this year's handouts and posters have some style to them. About time too, says <b>Alice Jones</b>

Nature Studies by Michael McCarthy: Such intoxicating displays of mimicry

Very occasionally a book comes along which enables you to see the world in a different way, and I have just discovered one. The title is Butterflies: Messages from Psyche and the author is Philip Howse, a retired Professor of Entomology at the University of Southampton. Published six weeks ago, the book is large-format, and since it is profusely illustrated with splendid photographs of butterflies and moths, many of them magnificent tropical species in bravura colours, your first thought is: coffee table. Yet something radical is going on in these pages which marks this volume out as one to be read rather than left lying around in your sitting room.

A very English ark: New homes for wildlife

In the UK's biggest exodus of creatures, thousands are being relocated from the Thames estuary to make room for a container port.

Lizards are dying out because of climate change, study says

They have been around since the time of the dinosaurs and have in the past survived several global mass extinctions of species, but now lizards are at serious risk of disappearing from the face of the earth as a result of climate change, scientists said yesterday.

The Blue Hour: A Portrait of Jean Rhys, By Lilian Pizzichini

Jean Rhys's favourite perfume was named L'Heure Bleue, and this melancholic scent featured in her first novel, Quartet, worn by a brave young female, the heroine breathing in the scent, hoping that she can absorb some of her rival's self-possession. This atmospheric biography captures not only the scents, but also the textures and colours that filled the complex life of the novelist.

New species of Monitor Lizard discovered

A new giant species of monitor lizard was discovered in the forests of the Northern Philippines, scientists said today.

Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
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Russell Brand has written a book of political analysis called Revolution
peopleFilm star says he is 'not interested in making money anymore'
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newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
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Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
booksChristmas comes early for wizard fans
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Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

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Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

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Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
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Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker