News

Item believed to have been cut from stuffed head in Cork mansion safari room

Edinburgh Zoo will pay China £600,000 a year for the pandas

£12,000 to see the pandas – with a buffet thrown in

First there was the prawn sandwich brigade, then the rubber chicken circuit. Now the corporate hospitality industry is bracing itself for the birth of the bamboo banquet.

Soho celebs strip off for charity show

Sadie Frost and Jaime Winstone have posed naked in photographs at London's Groucho Club to raise money for the National Autistic Society. Frost is stretching naked on a bed and Winstone is sitting on a chair, with nothing but a vintage red gypsy curtain over her lap. Organised by Bernie Katz, the club's manager, this collection of nude and semi-nude portraits of stars of Soho, snapped by Andrea Vecchiato, are on show this week at London's The Gallery Soho.

Last Night's Viewing: Hot Like Us BBC3, Fresh Meat Channel 4

The contest to find the most dimwitted programme on BBC3 is an open-ended one, but Hot Like Us, a modelling challenge that pits real couples against one another in a test of looks and lurve, is surely a good bet for a high placing. "Sex sells and celebrity couples are big business," runs the opening credit's pitch line. Because Posh and Becks and Brad and Angelina can pretty much name their price for a joint photo-shoot, the suggestion goes, then there must be a seller's market for the modelling equivalent of a twin-pack. "If we can find a real couple who are gorgeous and in love they'll make a killing," said one of the show's judges. This is obvious nonsense, I would have thought, since ordinary models can do a perfectly good job of pretending they adore each other for an hour or two, if that's what's required. And while these couples might be able to learn how to pout and pose, they're never going to be able to learn how to be globally famous, which is what really pushes up the price tag on a Posh and Becks shoot.

The Garden at Hidcote, By Fred Whitsey (Photos by Tony Lord)

According to the late, great gardening writer Fred Whitsey, nothing has had a greater influence on garden design in the 20th century than Hidcote Manor Garden in the Cotswolds.

Strong demand for luxury mansions

Despite widespread economic gloom, rich people's love affair with sprawling mansions continues. Figures published today show a 10 per cent rise in the number of luxury homes on the market compared with the same period last year.

Tips and deals of the week: 07/08/2011

The deal

Arrietty (U)

Voices of: Saoirse Ronan, Mark Strong, Olivia Colman

Murder mystery at San Diego mansion after two die in two days

Police are attempting to get to the bottom of what they described as two "bizarre" deaths that occurred within 48 hours of each other at the historic seaside home of one of the wealthiest men in San Diego.

The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton, By Elizabeth Speller

A little girl, and the plot, go missing

Online House Hunter: Lords of the manor

Why just move into a house? Why not take the opportunity to become Lord or Lady Smith of Clackton-upon-Sea or Earl Jones of Gerrards Cross?

The BBC bunker they don't want you to know about

Who knew that, 10 storeys beneath a Worcestershire hill, the corporation is ready for Armageddon?

In pictures: How the Ryder Cup drama unfolded

The Ryder Cup may have been delayed by a day for the first time in the tournament's history, but it was well worth the wait.

Behind Closed Doors, By Amanda Vickery

"Interiors do not easily offer up their secrets," admits Vickery in this scrupulously documented exploration of 18th-century domesticity. By probing over 60 archives she reveals telling details of life behind the restrained Georgian façades.

Ryder Cup: Hole-by-hole guide to Celtic Manor

The 38th Ryder Cup gets underway on Friday at the Twenty Ten Course at Celtic Manor Resort.

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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
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 20 February 2015
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn