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 20 February 2015
Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis