News Gerard is one of the younger residents of James Turner Street in Winson Green

The West Midlands Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner has been a James Turner Street landlady for almost 12 years

Teen survives nine weeks in Australian Outback with no shelter and little food or water during record heatwave

Matthew Allen weighed just six stone, was covered in leeches and mosquito bites and was left partially blind after setting off on an apparent test of his survival skills

Poll: Is this Yeah Yeah Yeahs album cover crazy good, or just crazy?

Album art has a mixed history. You've got "so iconic I'm not even going to hyperlink" on the one hand (Abbey Road, Thriller, Aladdin Sane), nightmare-fodder on the other (Jesus Use Me, anything collected by this guy). Now fans are fighting over which category the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' sleeve, for their forthcoming album Mosquito, falls in to. What do you think?

Avian pox produces warts and stops great tits feeding properly

Great tit under threat from mosquito borne virus that is sweeping the country

Avian pox, which has spread among woodpigeons and house sparrows for a number of years, is now taking its toll of populations of the great tit

Portfolio: The nature detectives

Imagine standing on the surface of the Moon, staring back at Earth and having in your grasp a device that allows you to see a tennis ball.

October 9, 2012: London Mayor Boris Johnson delivers his keynote speech at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.

Boris Johnson rushes to The Guardian's defence

The Guardian newspaper group has found itself an unlikely defender in the shape of Conservative Mayor of London and Telegraph columnist, Boris Johnson

Six penguins die after malaria outbreak at London Zoo

Six penguins have died after an outbreak of malaria at London Zoo this summer.

The Maracana stadium, which will host the 2014 World Cup final, is currently being re-developed

Fifa make pledge over empty seats at 2014 World Cup

FIFA have vowed to keep empty seats to a “strict minimum” at the next World Cup.

Nepal's tragic news sent a shiver down my spine

I awoke, as usual, with the radio on. I can't get to sleep if it's not, a habit I acquired growing up in Beirut where the BBC World Service would always be on. Lebanon is a place where news really matters and you would often find out who was shooting at you from some calm voice in London before anybody local had worked it out.

Postcard From...Languedoc

Travel west along the French rivieria, going past Antibes, St Tropez and Marseilles, and you will find another side to France's Mediterranean coast. Far from the glitz of Monte Carlo, brimming with its tax exiles and Russian billionaires' yachts, here is the less fashionable but "salt of the earth" France. No Brad Pitt, Brigitte Bardot or even Graham Greene here.

Five-minute Memoir: Susan Fletcher goes to Jamaica in search of a long-dead relative

As a child, there were words that I knew were part of me, and had resonance. My name, of course; 'red-headed', too; also, the word 'April', for while it meant Easter eggs and school holidays, it also meant my birthday – so it was a special word, to me.

Sir Ronald Ross

Never before seen letters reveal the story of the scientist who laid the foundations of a cure for malaria more than a century ago

When British doctor Sir Ronald Ross discovered the crucial link between mosquitos and malaria at the end of the 19 century, he understandably thought it marked the beginning of the end of the deadly disease – rampant then not only in colonial India and Africa, but also in southern European countries such as Greece and Italy.

Ted Sismore: RAF veteran of daring low-level air raids

Ted Sismore planned and navigated Second World War RAF low-level daylight raids which were the most precisely timed, the deepest-penetrating, and the most appreciated by those for whom they were targeted. His skill freed prisoners and destroyed papers held by the Gestapo, preventing many executions and hundreds of arrests, with the minimum of civilian damage. The raids were made in answer to requests by the French and Danish resistance movements. "The difficulty was to achieve this kind of success without killing a lot of people," he wrote. "It was a very difficult decision of what to drop and how much to drop."

Ted Sismore: RAF veteran of daring low-level air raids

Ted Sismore planned and navigated Second World War RAF low-level daylight raids which were the most precisely timed, the deepest-penetrating, and the most appreciated by those for whom they were targeted. His skill freed prisoners and destroyed papers held by the Gestapo, preventing many executions and hundreds of arrests, with the minimum of civilian damage. The raids were made in answer to requests by the French and Danish resistance movements. "The difficulty was to achieve this kind of success without killing a lot of people," he wrote. "It was a very difficult decision of what to drop and how much to drop."

Maureen Dunlop

Further to your obituary of Maureen Popp, née Dunlop (11 June), as a close friend of Maureen – and, like her, a former pilot – I was honoured to be asked to escort her to an investiture meeting of the Guild of Air Pilots, writes Richard Gregory.

Brave and beautiful: Dunlop caught on camera after landing a Fairey Barracuda in 1944. The shot made the cover of 'Picture Post'

Maureen Dunlop: Pilot for the Air Transport Auxiliary who made the cover of Picture Post

Not many women have ever been as brave and as beautiful as Maureen Dunlop, whose Second World War flying experience knocks the pioneering hops of her older near-contemporaries Amelia Earhart and Amy Johnson into a cocked hat.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there