News The new series of 'The Voice' got underway last weekend

ITV makes complaint in its submission into the Culture Committee's inquiry into the future of the BBC

Police launch hunt for killers of seal pups shot dead

Island massacre: Detectives begin house-to-house inquiries after 'horrendous and harrowing' attack on remote Scottish shore

Comeback for corncrake

One of Britain's most endangered birds, the corncrake, shows signs of coming back from the brink. For two years running its numbers have increased in the Hebridean islands and Orkney where it has made its last stand.

OBITUARY: Alastair Mackie

Alastair Mackie was a Scots makar; a skilled wordsmith and an incorrigibly restless and cross-grained literary archaeologist. Add to this an imagination that often saw the world as dark and foreboding, and we can glimpse something of what made Mackie an important Scots poet.

Orkney seafood too hot to handle

AS THE heat wave that covered much of Britain drew to a close yesterday, diners wanting to enjoy shellfish on the Orkneys became the latest victims of last week's high temperatures.

Orkney fears the perfect murderer

Crime/ 'Tandoori' killing

THE TWICKENHAM BATTLE FIVE NATIONS SHOWDOWN: England's talent and experience can tip the balance in key areas while Scots seek action replay of 1990

Pride revives the Flower of Scotland in its hour of need Ronnie Browne, artist, musician and celebrity supporter, explains what it means to be a bearer of the tartan

Abuse and the serial offenders

The Ayrshire report reveals familiar deficiencies in investigating child-sex cases, argues Allan Levy

`Ritual abuse' families tell of years of hell

Parents bitterly attack Ayrshire social workers whose reports robbed them of their children.

Nightmare is over for `ritual abuse' families

BY JOHN ARLIDGE

Looking towards Orkney from a warm Wiltshire bed

I was saying yesterday that writers are often a long way from the scene of their books when they get down to writing about them - that they have to withdraw a certain distance from an exotic locale to get it in perspective and feel the full effect of it. And that maybe the same is true of the way we should read books. That is, when you or I go to the West Indies, we shouldn't read a book set in the West Indies, we should read something set in Scandinavia. Which explains why I have recently spent a lot of time in Orkney.

Equestrianism: Boon guides Britain home: One mistake costs team leader another individual title

TERRY BOON led the British team to a second successive victory in the Young Riders' European Championships, which were part of the Blenheim Audi International Horse Trials. But Boon's chance of repeating last year's individual win disappeared when his mount, Vital Decision, dislodged a rail from the penultimate fence in yesterday's show jumping.

BOOK REVIEW / Thorfinn the thunder god: Beside the ocean of time - George Mackay Brown: John Murray pounds 14.99

GEORGE Mackay Brown's new novel, which was last week voted on to the Booker shortlist, begins thus: 'Of all the lazy useless boys who ever went to Norday school, the laziest and the most useless was Thorfinn Ragnarson.' This is pure Mackay Brown: an Orkney setting, an ugly duckling hero, the blindness of society to the qualities of the poet, a nudge of humour. The novel is obliquely autobiographical, the story of an unfolding imagination woven into an island's experience of change. It has the magic, but none of the fey rococo, of Virginia Woolf's Orlando.

Wild goose chase

SCOTTISH Natural Heritage is to recruit a human scarecrow at pounds 4 an hour to chase barnacle geese off farmland on the island of South Walla, Orkney.

Wildlife experts are baffled by deaths of seal pups

CONSERVATIONISTS are to investigate the deaths of 40 seal pups amid fears of an outbreak of a mystery virus.

Travel: A family guide to summer Britain: Scotland

IT'S NOT hard to conjure up the image of a perfect family holiday in Scotland: messing about in boats, scrambling up hills, spotting eagles, pony-trekking in the glens, and long days rounded off by spectacular sunsets. But it's easy to go wrong in practice. There is scope for a horror movie based on being rained-in on a midge-infested island for two weeks with a houseful of children - who then decide that Scrabble isn't the most exciting game on earth.
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Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
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Russell Brand has written a book of political analysis called Revolution
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Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
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Jessica Chastain during an interview in Los Angeles.
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Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

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Meow! ... Again, Kim Kardashian goes for a sexy Halloween costume, wrapping her body with a latex catsuit and high heeled knee boots
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Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

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On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
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Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

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Independent Travel
Vietnam & Cambodia
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Bruges
India & Nepal
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Berlin, Dresden, Meissen & Colditz
Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker