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Why sloths descend from the safety of the trees once a week to go to the toilet has baffled scientists - but one specialist thinks he has the answer

A self-portrait of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity combining 66 exposures taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 177th Martian day

Thanks to Mastcam, Nasa finds more signs of Mars water

More signs of past water on Mars have been uncovered by the American space agency Nasa's Curiosity rover.

Photography book of the week: Black Maps - American Landscape and the Apocalyptic Sublime, By David Maisel

"These photographs," writes David Maisel, one of a group of landscape photographers dubbed "the New Topographics", "depict the landscape of the American West as the site of human-induced trauma."

Jim Armitage: Blair's repeated Guinea trips raise eyebrows over his connections

Global Outlook: It is his mixture of charity and business that can leave questions to be answered

Must watch: Chicago TV reports breaking news of plane crash, only to discover it was TV show set

BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!!!! Plane crashes into highway! Oh wait...that's just a TV set.

Soil on Mars 'is like Hawaii'

Scientists say the Martian soil at NASA's Curiosity Rover's landing site contains minerals similar to that found on Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano.

Pupils to learn Asian languages to improve trade

All schoolchildren will be able to learn Chinese, Hindi, Japanese or Indonesian under a new government strategy to increase Australia's engagement with Asia.

Market Report: Court ruling gives Pathfinder a boost

Shares in Pathfinder Minerals shot up like a rocket yesterday, more than doubling after the Aim-listed miner won a landmark, High Court ruling in a dispute with a former African director over who owns its key asset.

Nasa releases first Mars images from Curiosity rover

Nasa yesterday showed off the first high-resolution, colour portrait images taken by the Mars rover Curiosity, detailing a mound of layered rock where scientists plan to focus their search for the chemical ingredients of life on the Red Planet.

Abigail Disney, great-niece of Walt

Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company

Abigail Disney – filmmaker, philanthropist and great-niece of the legendary animator Walt Disney – has publicly renounced her share of the family profits from an Israeli firm she claims is exploiting "occupied natural resources".

Pathfinder Minerals to relist in London after Britain steps into licensing row

Shares in Pathfinder Minerals, the Mozambique-focused miner which suspended trading in November, will relist in London today after an intervention by the UK Government.

One of Potash Corp's mines in Saskatchewan, Canada, where a foreign takeover was bitterly opposed

Firm hopes promise of jobs will gather support for potash plans

"There's potash in them thar hills" might lack the potency of the Klondike's rallying cry, but the discovery is causing passions to run high in the North York Moors.

How Whitby fell victim to potash fertiliser fury

Deep beneath the cherished North York Moors lies a valuable mineral that is dividing local people

Mining firm hails Moors mineral find

A mining company says it has found the world's biggest and best quality supply of a valuable mineral under the North York Moors National Park.

James Cameron explored another frontier in a dive to the Pacific's depths

From the depths to the heavens: star director sets out to mine asteroids

After his journey to the bottom of the sea, James Cameron has a new far-flung idea

Hot lips: The best red lipsticks

1. Lipstick in Pleasure Me Red

Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
Sport
Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer, Alan Hansen and Gary Lineker during Hansen's final broadcast
World Cup 2014
Sport
Rihanna celebrates Germany's win
Sport
Sport
Manchester United's kit for the 2014/15 season
football
News
Nadine Gordimer died peacefully at home yesterday
peopleNobel laureate was a powerful anti-Apartheid voice
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Neil Young performs on stage at Hyde Park
musicAnd his Hyde Park set has rhyme and reason, writes Nick Hasted
News
Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
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Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor