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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Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own