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

Letter: The real victims of war

Sir: The real apology is owed not by Japan to British war veterans but by Britain, France, Portugal, the Netherlands - and indeed Japan - to the native peoples of South-east Asia, none of whom asked to be fought over or conquered, or to have their land and minerals stolen from them, or to be treated like inferior beings in their own countries. The conscripts sent to defend the evils of those empires should direct their complaints to those who drafted them.

Staveley chief quits on profit warning

STAVELEY, the troubled engineering and minerals group, yesterday announced the departure of its chief executive along with a profit warning and the long-awaited sale of its two measurement businesses.

Hunt is on for new English gold mine

A COMPANY hoping to start England's first commercial gold mine will resume exploratory drilling today at a secret location.

National Park orders company to stop quarrying in Peaks

NATIONAL PARK officials yesterday ordered a halt to quarrying in a top beauty spot. The move followed a meeting of the Peak District National Park Authority into a proposal from RMC Roadstone to extract a million tons a year of limestone from Backdale Quarry at Longstone Edge, near Bakewell, in Derbyshire.

Falklands diamond find

A British prospecting company has been granted a six-year licence by the Falkland Islands government to search for diamonds. Surveys in East Island have yielded "indicator minerals" - such as pyrope garnets and chrome spinels - that suggest the presence of diamond deposits.

Earthquakes: Scientists struggle with predictions

Last July a panel of Japanese seismological experts admitted, for the first time, that they were unlikely to be able to predict when a catastrophic earthquake would happen, because predicting earthquakes was (to quote them) "difficult".

Carving out a living

Sculpture of any sort is a long and laborious process, involving hours of painstaking work. But when your medium is ice and the end result is destined to be a pool of water before you can say "ice-pick", why bother?

Environment: Asbestos not as risky as believed

A new study into the use of asbestos materials and man-made mineral fibres in homes shows there is little risk to health if managed and treated correctly. The study, Fibrous Materials in the Environment, looked at the risks from environmental exposure to asbestos and man-made mineral fibres at home. It was commissioned by the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions.

Liberia confusion hits minerals firm

Commonwealth Gold, a minerals company capitalised at pounds 30m whose shares trade over the counter on the volatile Ofex exchange, may have to cut earnings projections as a result of deep confusion over its interests in war-torn Liberia.

Hunt for children who played with asbestos

Police yesterday visited several Birmingham schools in an attempt to trace a group of children seen playing with blue asbestos illegally dumped on waste ground.

Hello Mars, is anyone at home?

Why Mars? Not just, scientists now argue, because (like Everest) it's there. After the discovery last August of possible traces of fossilised past life in a Martian meteorite, the question now is: could life have once existed there, and might it still do so?

T&N shares plunge on asbestos ruling

Investors in T&N, the car part manufacturer that used to be one of the world's largest asbestos producers, yesterday took fright of news that the company had lost an important American legal battle over future asbestos claims. Almost pounds 90m was wiped off the value of T&N as the shares plunged by more than 10 per cent to 143p on the news, which came just before the stock market closed.

Correction: Asbestos: a correction

As a result of a transcription error in last week's article on asbestos by Jeff Howell, the phrase reading: "...asbestos covered sheeting can be removed if damaged..." should in fact have read: "...asbestos cement sheeting can be removed if dampened..."

If you thought you knew about asbestos, think again

You could still be exposing yourself to danger when doing DIY.

Staveley to cut more jobs and sell division

Staveley Industries, the measurement, mechanical engineering and minerals company, yesterday announced further job cuts and the sale of one of its divisions in an attempt to stave off further losses.
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Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back