News The steller sea eagle can be 8ft in wing-span

Sea eagle, which has an 8ft wingspan, disappeared on Saturday

The crow pecked repeatedly at the other dove

Pope’s white doves of peace attacked by gull and crow after being released over St Peter’s Square

The two doves were set upon straight after being released by children standing next to Pope Francis at the Vatican 

Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller, former head of British domestic intelligence agency MI5, said she did not support publication of the US National Security Agency

US will make deal with Edward Snowden, claims former MI5 head Dame Eliza Manningham Buller

Dame Eliza Manningham Buller believes the leaks have caused damage

The yellow wagtail has disappeared entirely from Wales

Birds that were once a common sight in Britain take flight, never to return

The sharp decline in some of Britain’s most common bird species is resulting for the first time in their disappearance from some parts of the United Kingdom, conservationists warn today.

Dove eating, ugly wife suing and a number 39 with rice. What a month for Chinese misrepresentations

These stories in Western media depict Chinese people in an unreasonably negative way

Anything to declare? Hippo teeth, walrus horns, taxidermy alligators and potions made from rare orchids - UK border officials seize record number of endangered animal items

Officials from the Home Office have said more items were confiscated in the year up to April 2013 than in any other year

French 'spy swan' detained in Egypt after citizen's arrest is neither a spy nor a swan

Suspicions were raised after a man noticed an electronic device attached to the suspected winged infiltrator

'The pecking dead': Panicked Russians contact authorities to report eerie behaviour of 'zombie pigeons'

Birds seem extremely lethargic and seemingly fearless

How 2012 cold spring drove away long-distance migratory birds

Huge numbers of Sand Martin and Grasshopper Warbler either died or flew on the sunnier climes

Rufus the Hawk

Page 3 Profile: Rufus, the bird-worrier of wimbledon

Rufus Hound or Rufus Wainwright?

Wimbledon 2013 Diary: Smiling Keys is quick with a quip

Answer of the day. Madison Keys, the 18-year-old conqueror of Heather Watson, was asked in a long-winded question by an American journalist to choose one word that best described her. "Sarcastic," darted back Keys. The all-American smile that followed made it impossible to tell if she was being exactly that.

Rock solid: Namur’s ancient citadel still dominates the streets below

Namur: Adventures in Europe's historic heart

Henry Palmer on a stylish city that bears the scars of war with dignity

10% of British wildlife at risk of extinction as species show massive decline

Comprehensive study reveals hedgehogs, turtle doves and red squirrels among species seeing biggest falls

Georgia Ruth, Week of Pines (Gwymon)

Album review: Georgia Ruth, Week of Pines (Gwymon)

The Welsh harpist Georgia Ruth is a rare talent, able to transcend borders of language, style and age with apparent ease. At its simplest, Pines reinvigorates folk standards; but elsewhere, exploratory arrangements blending her harp with synth, guitar and ambient noises lend distinctive colour to her own material.

The true Lake District? The day I wandered
lonely as a cloud... in South Norwood

A south London tourist board is challenging the Lake District's claim to the name. So did it bring out the poet in John Walsh

Chinese health workers collect bags of dead chickens at Huhuai wholesale agricultural market in Shanghai

China orders poultry cull after sixth death from bird flu never seen in humans before

Alarm over a sixth death from a strain of lethal bird flu never before seen in humans has led Chinese authorities to slaughter more than 20,000 birds at a poultry market in Shanghai.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there