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The birds' beauty belies their often menacing and destructive nature 

Mayor Bloomberg has an eye on the FT

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire Mayor of New York, is considering whether to make a bid for the Financial Times, amid renewed speculation that the paper's owner, Pearson, will be ready to sell soon.

Last count: Cubans at a Mayan ritual last week

Doomsayers await the end of the world – on 21/12/12

But governments try to reassure their citizens not to panic

The Washington Post

Washington Post website reportedly considering paywall

The Washington Post will probably start charging online readers for access to newspaper articles in the middle of next year, a person familiar with the plans said.

Casey astride Stripely, the zebra she attempted to mate with a horse

Juanita Casey: Writer, artist and horse breeder who lived the archetypal bohemian life

Juanita Casey's writing won her fans in Britain, Ireland and the United States. Rich with imagery and a deep understanding of the human condition, her short stories, novels and poetry are peopled with carefully observed characters who come to life through an empathy, wit and a great grasp of dialect. Her signature drawings, particularly of horses, captured the spirit which she perceived in the animal world and which she conveyed in a style all her own.

The Office has been a big part of NBC’s schedule for years. It is also a prominent product placer, with plots revolving around such brands as Chili’s and Stap

It's the age of Reverse Product Placement: Fictional items from The Office go on sale

The media giant NBC- Universal broke US ad-sale records for its Olympic programming this year. But, as more people skip ad breaks, television shows must do all they can to make money. Product placement has long been a fixture of American TV, with some shows working real-life products into scripts without too much damage to reputations.

Mitt Romney blames his losses on Obama's 'gifts'

Romney blames loss on 'gifts' doled out by Obama to minorities and young voters

Mitt Romney is blaming his loss in the presidential election on "Obamacare" and other "gifts" he says President Barack Obama handed out to African Americans, Hispanics and other core supporters, according to news reports Wednesday.

Kevin Clash, the puppeteer behind Elmo, has taken leave from Sesame Street

Elmo puppeteer cleared of underage sex claim

A sex scandal will not tear apart Sesame Street. Days after allegations of sexual misconduct were made against Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash, they have been withdrawn - the claimant recanting his story he had sex with Clash while still a minor.

Vigilantes fight harassment on the streets of Cairo

In September the BBC reported fears that sexual harassment was reaching "epidemic proportions" in Egypt. One study held that 80% of Egyptian women had some experience of it.The tables may not have turned yet, but the chronic problem is at last being addressed - as groups of outraged vigilantes chase down and shame offenders on the streets.

Twenty current BBC staff facing internal allegations of sexual misconduct following Jimmy Savile revelations

Twenty current BBC staff are facing internal allegations of sexual misconduct following the Jimmy Savile revelations, the corporation said today.

Surrogate Pregnancies: Making babies for cash

In a divided America, surrogate pregnancies fulfill the needs of both the 47 per cent and the other 53. Wealthy, infertile couples get the chance of a family, cash-strapped women get another source of income. But what's it really like for the people involved?

Mark Thompson is the incoming chief executive of The New York Times

Is 'something strange' going on at the BBC?

ITV sent letter to BBC chiefs detailing allegations of abuse by Savile, weeks before TV exposé

US Election Diary: Barack Obama's reasons to be grateful

We caught an amusing tweet from David Corn, political editor at Mother Jones, noting receipt of an email from Barack Obama that begins, "David, I am grateful to you". (Millions of us received the same missive thanking us for our support.) "What did I do?" Mr Corn asks rhetorically. Quite a lot, of course.

New York Times: Falling ad sales present a challenge to in-coming Mark Thompson

New York Times plunges as advertising slump leads to surprise loss

The New York Times Co. on Thursday tumbled the most in at least three decades after reporting a surprise loss on falling advertising sales, adding to the challenges for incoming Chief Executive Officer Mark Thompson.

Lawyer Gloria Allred talks with reporters outside the court in Massachusetts yesterday

Mitt Romney denies he lied under oath to protect friend in divorce settlement

Romney is believed to have testified that Staples was in trouble with its shares worth under $2

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Sport
Louis van Gaal watches over Nani
transfers
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
transfersColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn