Life and Style Large breeding snails of the 'gros gris' variety in Helen Howard's production unit

Heliculturists have increased production 25-fold since 2000. Cahal Milmo meets some and finds out why more home cooks and chefs are shelling out

Last Night's TV: Giant Squid: Inside Nature's Giants Special/Channel 4<br/>Reggie Perrin/BBC1<br/>Sex Trafficking in Cambodia &ndash; Stacey Dooley Investigates/BBC3

On the (highly) scientific scale of natural squirmyness, cephalopods rank pretty high. Even grilled, seasoned with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice, they take a certain oomph to tackle. Raw, enlarged and sprawled on a dissection table... well, suffice it to say thank goodness it wasn't tea time. Not for me anyway.

Tax breaks make venture capital trusts tempting

But there are still potential risks for investors, warns Julian Knight

Roasted onion squash, chard and scallops

Serves 4

The Natural World: On the trail of the Vietnamese snail

I'm scrabbling through the soil, picking through the vegetation and scouring beneath the rocks for snails. As curator of molluscs this isn't unusual, but this time I'm in the middle of a tropical rainforest in northern Vietnam, 120km south-west of Hanoi. It is over 30C, humid, and I'm pretty sure I've just been bitten by another blood-sucking leech – but I think I have the best job in the world.

Match-predicting octopus retires

England’s second great World Cup success is to retire at the top of his game. Paul the Octopus, a common octopus who was born in Weymouth but now lives at the Oberhausen aquarium in western Germany, will not forecast any more football results, his keepers said, after the eight-legged oracle correctly chose the winners of eight games at the World Cup, including the victors of Sunday night’s final, Spain.

Newly discovered fossil revealed as the mother of modern-day molluscs

It looks like something out of a Salvador Dali dreamscape but this bizarre sea creature, which lived about 500 million years ago, turns out to have been the mother of all squids – indeed it is the ancestor of octopuses, cuttlefish and all other cephalopod molluscs.

DVD review: Tulpan (12)

Sergei Dvortsevoy (DVD/Blu-ray, 103 mins)

The truth is out there: 20/03/2010

A weekly look at the world

Racing: Musselburgh gives winter comfort

Scottish course optimistic of staging Friday meeting as signs of thaw increase

Snail, By Peter Williams

This enjoyable PR job for the mollusc by an Oxford GP reveals that Patricia Highsmith was always accompanied by her pet snails, usually in her handbag but "carefully positioned under each breast" when travelling abroad.

Independent launches new video service

The Independent has launched an enhanced UK video news offering following an innovative distribution deal with the Press Association and Octopus Media Technology.

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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
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3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
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War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?