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The birds' beauty belies their often menacing and destructive nature 

Margaret Hodge's comment about 'broken BBC Trust' and her call for 'no more lies' said it all

BBC exposed for embarrassing levels of incompetence over pay-offs

Thompson stood down after eight years in 2012

BBC severance row: Corporation's 'big beasts' Lord Patten and Mark Thompson gear up for battle that only one can win

Current BBC chairman and former Director-General will provide theatre in front of Public Accounts Committee

James Moore: Hank Paulson may regret his lenient line on bankers

Outlook Talking of banking, and common sense, has no less a personage than Hank Paulson undergone a damascene conversion and joined the ranks of those questioning the financial world's addiction to bonuses?

Economist Anatole Kaletsky

The Feral Beast: A high-class marriage, cooking the books, literary sport and tattoo talk

As David Cameron's sister-in-law, and former correspondence secretary, Alice Sheffield knows how hectic his schedule can be. So it's considerate of her to be getting married in a window when the Camerons can make it – Saturday 7 September – after recess but just before conference. Sam Cam's 32-year-old half-sister was last in the news five years ago, when the PM was found to be employing her three days a week. Now she is to marry her French estate agent fiancé, Etienne Cadestin, at the Sheffields' family home in North Yorkshire. The gardens of Sutton Park, normally open to the public, will be shut that weekend. Sir Reginald Sheffield, Sam Cam's dad, bought it in 1963, after downsizing from nearby Normanby Hall. My man in the potting shed says the place is a flurry of activity. "They're currently building a pergola to prettify the loo block," he whispers. "Though the kitchen garden is still a little on the wild side."

Sheryl Sandberg

Page 3 Profile: Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook chief operating officer

Lean in. Something to say?

Katherine Graham, pictured with Truman Capote, in 1966

The Washington Post: A much-diminished force – but it is still a local institution

Its domestic political coverage and foreign affairs expertise are still excellent

Mark Thompson

Is New York Times boss Mark Thompson the luckiest CEO in the world?

He was at Channel 4 when the ad market  was soaring, left the BBC before the Savile scandal and has now inherited a booming New York Times. Ian Burrell  reports on the latest chapter of a charmed career

Artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer

Tunnel vision helps New Yorkers find their voice - and stops traffic!

Alice Jones' Arts Diary

Julian Assange delivers a statement on the balcony at the Ecuador Embassy on 19 August 2012

Julian Assange seeks WikiLeaks Party Australia Senate seat from confines of Ecuadorian embassy

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will attempt to win a seat in Australian Senate elections while still confined to Ecuador’s embassy in London.

John William's Stoner enjoys renaissance

The novel Stoner sank with barely a trace when it came out in 1965, says Arifa Akbar, but now it’s enjoying a resurgence

Big Brother tells Long Island doctors to wash their hands

Big Brother is watching the doctors and nurses at the North Shore University Hospital in Long Island – and he wants them to wash their hands.

Eric Holder authorised the seizure of the phone records of AP reporters

US media snubs peace talks with Attorney General, Eric Holder, over snooping row

Efforts by the US Attorney General, Eric Holder, to smooth American media feathers ruffled by recent revelations of aggressive snooping by the government on reporters hit a snag, as major news organisations turned down an invitation to meet with him.

Obama officials are 'criminalising journalism', says Republican senator

Administration’s efforts to trace leaks called ‘heavy-handed’ after private emails seized

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning looks downfield for James Milner

Manchester City face long haul to win over NYC citizens

There was sky blue everywhere at the official launch of the club in east Harlem

Steve Wilhite, inventor of the GIF file, poses with an award backstage at the Webby Awards. He says the file should be pronounced 'jif' not 'gif' with a hard 'G'.

GIF inventor Steve Wilhite says it should be pronounced 'jif'

The inventor of the Gif file has revealed that the world has been mispronouncing his creation.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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