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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

House Doctor: My survey shows the house I'm buying has asbestos. Should I pull out of the deal?

Question: The survey on a home we're buying has just shown a likelihood of asbestos in the property and in the attached garage.

Small Talk: Timis stands by his claim of ENRC buy-in

Zilch! Those are the chances of FTSE 100-listed Eurasian Natural Resources Corp (ENRC) investing in African Minerals, according to sources close to the Kazakh group last week.

Anglo American attracts suitors for £800m zinc assets

Ftse 100 group Vedanta Resources and Canadian miner HudBay Minerals are believed to be in the mix for the $800m zinc assets of Anglo American which are up for sale.

Down to earth: Soil may not set many gardeners' hearts racing, but treating it with respect is the secret to beautiful plants

Soil isn't sexy. It's sad but it's true. Gardeners may sigh over their salvias, worship their wisterias, but soil they take for granted. In gardening books you can bet that any chapter on soil will be illustrated with a hefty boot doing impossibly tiring things with a spade. I have sympathy with readers who may already be turning away in droves from this page, fearing that it is all going to be about double digging, bastard trenching and the like.

Small Talk: Iron boost for African Minerals

You just can't keep a man like Frank Timis out of the news. The boss of the Aim-listed African Minerals has seen shares in the iron-ore producer jump by – wait for it – an incredible 1,578.9 per cent during the last 12 months. You read it correctly the first time. The main reason for investors' excitement in African Minerals is the increasingly impressive Tonkolili asset in Sierra Leone.

Small Talk: Timis raises £80m for Africa

African Minerals, the Aim- listed exploration company led by executive chairman and colourful small-cap sage Frank Timis, last week raised another £80m. Proceeds will be used to build a 120km road connecting its Tonkolili iron ore project in Sierra Leone with a railway line.

African Minerals sells stake to Chinese firm in £152m deal

African Minerals, the Aim-listed exploration group, with prospective iron ore assets in West Africa, has sold a 12.5 per cent stake in the company to the Chinese state-owned China Railway Materials Commercial Corp (CRM), a steel trading firm.

Small Talk: Takeover fun as African Minerals calls ENRC's bluff

Aim-listed African Minerals caused much excitement last Thursday when it announced to the market that it was in discussions with a plethora of much bigger mining groups about a takeover of its Tonkolili site, an estimated 5.1bn tonne iron ore asset in Sierra Leone.

Try some vintage Greek island-hopping - jump aboard the first ferry out

Tash Shifrin goes on a voyage of discovery around the Greek Cyclades

Asbestos activists to carry out stealth tests on schools

Undercover checks will be used to spur Government into action on 'deadly legacy' for pupils and teachers

Cold and wet: the latest theory about Mars

Mars may have once been both cold and wet, researchers said today, suggesting a freezing Martian landscape could still have produced water needed to sustain life.

Nancy Tait: Campaigner dedicated to fighting for the rights of asbestos victims

Nancy Tait was the foremost campaigner of her generation for the rights of the victims of occupational illnesses, particularly those related to asbestos. She grew up in an era when the mineral was regarded as a lifesaver, but she lived to see it become a "killer dust". Her life was dedicated to ensuring that everyone recognised that lethal potential and that victims of asbestos received adequate compensation.

Mining engineer

Highly trained engineers are required for a sustainable mining industry

Selfridges guilty of 'unbelievable' safety errors over asbestos scare

Memo reveals store allowed staff to use unsealed areas by contaminated zone
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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
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future