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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 1 May 2015
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before