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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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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
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone