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Police found the woman only had a provisional license and was accompanied only by a parrot

On the agenda: Chinese New Year; Jonathan Groff; August: Osage County; Beatles reunion

Middle-class problems: Going to a football match

The Parrots, By Filippo Bologna. Pushkin Press, £14.99

Every week another literary shortlist is announced, a judging panel revealed, a couple of longlists named, with a juicily controversial omission or a tediously predictable inclusion. But if The Parrots is to be believed, none is more significant than The Prize, the loftiest of all literary accolades, for which there are just three men in contention. They are The Beginner, The Writer and The Master. And for each of these men, the outcome really, really matters. In the Italian writer Filippo Bologna's smart new novel, we watch the three finalists in the countdown to the big announcement.

Costa Rica set to close public zoos and release the animals back into the wild

Officials plan to close the country's public zoos, open the cages where animals have been kept and release them back into the wild

Hell depicted in an engraving by Gustave Dore, illustrating Canto XXV of Dante’s Inferno, written circa 1310

What the Hell? Vatican caught in two minds over damnation for non-believers

The ‘infallible’ Pope’s proclamation that atheists will go to heaven has led to a rebuke from officials who declared they will go to hell. Jonathan Owen reports on the controversy

Andy McSmith's Diary: The police need a better class of sponsors

Martyn Underhill, a former detective chief inspector who is now Dorset’s elected Police Commissioner, has announced on his blog that he is trying to organise commercial sponsorship to help all five police forces in the South-west cope with cuts in their budgets. “The police family in Dorset is living in austere times with a shrinking budget and workforce,” he complains. “We are the lowest funded force and have seen the worst cuts. This is wrong, and I will continue to fight this…. I see huge potential benefits to forming appropriate sponsorship relationships with reputable organisations.”

Misjudged dress: Ahoy there WI mateys, tha’s no olde time pirate

Members of a Women’s Institute who thought it would be fun to dress up as pirates for a meeting were left feeling embarrassed when their light-hearted gesture went wrong.

Kris Marshall from My Family has been cast in Death In Paradise

Death In Paradise role for My Family star Kris Marshall

My Family star Kris Marshall is joining the cast of Caribbean crime drama Death In Paradise, taking over from Ben Miller.

Water fern (Azolla filiculoides): Native to the Americas but has spread to most continents. Thrives in ponds, lakes and ditches

UK bans sale of five 'alien' aquatic plants commonly bought for ornamental garden ponds

This is the first time that non-native plants have been banned from sale in Britain

The Cave – Review

Ron Gilbert takes us on an adventure of puzzlement, sarcasm and spelunking in Double Fine's latest release.

Dejected Sale Sharks players facing defeat against Toulon on Saturday

Quins fly lonely flag as English clubs face more humiliation in Europe

It has not been a happy time for English clubs in Europe – in the last three Heineken Cup campaigns, the Premiership fraternity have filled only four of the 24 quarter-final places available – and if results go the wrong way this weekend, another humiliation will be on the cards.

US man jailed for six months after 'depraved' fork attack on ex-girlfriend's parrot

Man didn't remember what happened and claimed he may have mixed anti-anxiety medication with whisky and slipped into a blacked-out rage

More than just a pretty boy, then: After Noc the talking beluga whale, and Koshik the talking elephant, here comes Figaro the tool-making parrot

The latest human-like ability from the animal world is being displayed by a cockatoo in Vienna, who is the first member of the parrot family to exhibit tool-making ability.

Great Works: Two Women in the Street (1914) by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfalen, Düsseldorf

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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee