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

Nightmare is over for `ritual abuse' families

BY JOHN ARLIDGE

`Ritual abuse' families tell of years of hell

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

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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How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

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Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

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Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

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Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
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Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit