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Cash windfall reportedly took villagers two days to distribute

Independent reporter Charlie Cooper interviews Sophie the sheep, one of the animal stars of the Olympic opening ceremony

Meet the real stars of the Olympic opening ceremony, a cow called Gabriella (who's a bit of a diva) and a goose called Gordon...

Forget James Bond, Kenneth Branagh and the Queen – the real stars of Danny Boyle's Olympic Opening Ceremony were a cow called Gabriella and a goose called Gordon, not to mention 40 sheep, two billy goats and a sheepdog.

Postcard From...New York

Views from abroad

Italian police seize suspect ham

Just days after the quality of Italian mozzarella was called into question with the country's biggest producer accused of adulterating his cheese, northern Italy's prosciutto is under the spotlight.

Last Night's Viewing: Natural World Special: Living with Baboons, BBC2
The Toilet – an Unspoken History, BBC4

Anthropomorphism fell out of favour a long time ago in natural history films, all that Disney personification being felt to get in the way of a dispassionate scientific presentation of the facts. But you wouldn't have known it from the opening lines of Rob Sullivan's Natural World Special: Living with Baboons. "As with all families, sometimes they fall out," said David Attenborough with avuncular condescension, as two hamadryas baboons tore chunks out of each other. Shortly before, he'd described the troop veterans as "wise old grandparents who've seen it all before".

The breeding of genetically modified animals and harmful mutants, mainly mice, accounted for 1.6 million procedures last year

40 per cent increase in animal experiments over past decade

Animal welfare charities reacted angrily to news today that the number of animal experiments rose to a record high in Britain last year.

A farmer in the south of France says meat from cows fed with wine was ‘tasty’

The Mooo-ton Rothschild for madame? Cows have a tipple to beef up flavour

The French are known to like their beef, and they also like their wine. In the southern village of Lunel-Viel, in the Hérault department in southern France, some farmers have taken the next step and are feeding wine to their beef cattle on the principle that if French beef tastes good now, it can only improve with a bottle of Saint-Geniès des Mourgues.

Award-winner: the Curve theatre in Leicester

Countyfile: Leicestershire - The stage is set for an all-action summer in the Midlands

Leicestershire's struck gold. At least it has in the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2012. At last month's prize-giving ceremony, Leicester Theatre Trust, the body behind the city's performance space, Curve (0116 242 3595; curveonline.co.uk), picked up a gold Access for All Tourism Award for its commitment to theatregoers with disabilities. You can take a closer look at Curve on one of its fortnightly guided tours (the next one is on 23 June, adults £3, under-18s £2), while, front of house, this month's performances include the family favourite Horrible Histories, performed by the Birmingham Stage Company on 11-13 June (tickets £14).

The numbers of buzzards are recovering after years of decline in Britain

Another day, another U-turn – plan for buzzard cull given the bird

Controversial plans to shotgun-blast the nests of buzzards to help out pheasant shooters were abruptly dropped by the Government yesterday, 24 hours after they were extensively highlighted and criticised in i.

The numbers of buzzards are recovering after years of decline in Britain

Buzzards free to nest in peace as minister drops shooting plans

Protected birds earn reprieve after sudden U-turn

Glyndebourne's <i>Vixen</i> is a flimsy affair

The Cunning Little Vixen, Glyndebourne, East Sussex
L'Olimpiade, St John's, Smith Square, London
Jessye Norman, Royal Festival Hall, London
Bow Down, Old Municipal Market, Brighton

Glyndebourne's dreadlocks-and-driftwood Janacek misses the Slavic touch, while Harrison Birtwistle's 'opera' is simply loathsome

Street lighting is changing insect ecosystems, study claims

Street lighting is changing insect ecosystems in towns and cities, a study has found.

Badger baiter sentenced to 23 weeks

A man who urged his dog to attack and kill badgers kept footage of the brutal fights on his phone, a court heard today.

The fortunes of Vietnam’s saola, right, contrast sharply with those of Britain’s rarest butterfly, the large blue, above, which is going from strength to strength

Antelope first seen 20 years ago is on brink of extinction

Vietnam's rare mammals may be sliding towards extinction, but Britain's rarest butterfly is going from strength to strength, a series of contrasting announcements makes clear today.

Last Night’s Viewing: Secret Eaters, Channel 4
Felicity Kendal's Indian Shakespeare Quest, BBC2

According to Anna Richardson, "we each make about 200 eating decisions a day". Judging from the ballooning of the national waistline, pretty much all of those decisions are "Oh go on then. I shouldn't but I will".

Interiors, Brighton Festival

There’s domestic drama at Brighton's Theatre Royal where the stage is filled with a large window, behind which twinkles an invitingly lit dining room. This is the setting for Interiors, first seen at Edinburgh’s Traverse in 2009 and now, thankfully, revived.

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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