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.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living