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.

Simon English: Schroders' board due for a shake-up

Outlook Back in the late 1990s, the distinguished fund management house Schroders suffered such a chronic period of duff stock-picking that unkind souls in the City dubbed the firm Skodas.

The Snow Child, By Eowyn Ivey

Literary fairy tales are fighting back. Margo Lanagan's Tender Morsels, a superb re-writing of Snow-White and Rose Red, is a case in point. Now there is the equally striking The Snow Child, a first novel by Eowyn Ivey, a writer from Alaska. Don't expect anything fey or sentimental; both novels are as tough as they come.

Anne Nolan: "I felt nothing when my father died. But telling the truth about him changed everything"

Four years ago Anne Nolan spoke out after a childhood of abuse. She explains what happened next

Average age of retirement increases

The average age of retirement has risen, official figures showed today, as those approaching state pension age struggle to pay for their later years.

Experience the weird world of Edwardian-themed football speed-dating

 My fingers were achingly sore and my head was spinning. I still had a sticky label stuck to me that read Lady Audley, and the phrase ‘goal-mate’ was echoing in my ears. There was a stick on moustache stuck to my handbag, and I had spent all night avoiding penalties and red cards. I had been speed dating.

David Beckham and Tom Cruise feel the love. But is it only shared fame that binds them?

Sarah Sands: A friend is not the one you turn to, but the person who turns to you

David Beckham's admission that he has only three good friends rings true

Liz Field, chief executive of the Financial Skills Network

Male, pale & stale: Could more women on the board help Mothercare – and other ailing firms?

The retailer's critics say its management is out of touch. Now the PM has returned to the issue of females in boardrooms

Alys, Always, By Harriet Lane

How to crash the London literary scene

England centre Owen Farrell is all smiles at the England training session in Guildford yesterday

Wiping smile off Farrell's face is the challenge for Scots

Saracens' prospect will make his England debut in the cauldron of Murrayfield but he has vowed to enjoy himself

Simon Carr: Drowsy hum of an education bureaucrat

The Sketch

Los Angeles police hunt for clues after feet discovered near severed head

Los Angeles police were hunting for clues to determine the identity of a man whose body was found in parts over the past two days — first a head on Tuesday, then two hands and two feet on Wednesday — just miles from the towering Hollywood sign.

Worrall Thompson was using a self-service checkout at Tesco

Philip Hodson: Teenage antics have all the hallmarks of a cry for help

The first thought, when someone is apprehended doing something of this fashion, is a straightforward and practical one. Is the person hard up? Sometimes people can't even admit to themselves that the bank balance is very low. Remember Occam's Razor – let's go for the simplest explanation to fit the facts.

Mary Ann Sieghart: With role models like these, we are our own worst enemies

Acute little naked baby is grinning at the camera. "Is this the happiest she'll ever be about her appearance?" asks the slogan on the billboard. The ad was for a campaign last year to save future generations of women and girls from hating their bodies. For the explosion in cosmetic surgery – and the explosion of breast implants inside women's bodies – is just a symptom of a corrosive unhappiness that begins only a few years after birth.

California serial killer stabs to death three homeless men

A serial killer is believed to be responsible for stabbing to death three homeless men in Southern California.

Troubled Thomas Cook in a shake-up at top

A boardroom clearout was unveiled at Thomas Cook yesterday, the next stage of the embattled travel group's battle to save itself from doom.

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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
Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable