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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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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
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General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat