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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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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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