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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
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
Prices correct as of 12 March 2015
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing
The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower