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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
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent