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This millennium, Britain’s dragonfly contingent has been in the throes of revolution. Several sparkling species have crossed the sea to start colonising the UK. In this ambitious itinerary, you might see up to seven magnificent dragonflies unknown in Britain two decades previously.

The restoration game: Crossways in leafy Hanwell, west London, has failed to sell at auction and may continue to lie derelict

Property news roundup: Why do tenants rent?

Plus Six Nations property breakdown, empty homes, homelessness, and rents in UK cities

New York plans to cull wild mute swans

The birds' beauty belies their often menacing and destructive nature 

Face facts: ‘Easter Island: Mysteries of a Lost World’ with Dr Jago Cooper

Easter Island: Mysteries of a Lost World, TV review: Archaeologist digs deep to prove that a lost tribe can hold their heads up high

When most of us think of Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, we think of moai, the 887 magnificent statues that guard its shores. But the mystery of BBC4's Easter Island: Mysteries of a Lost World wasn't how these monoliths were made, or how they were moved into place (aliens, obviously) or even whether the ancient Rapa Nui people were responsible for their own decline, it's why the myths have persisted for so long.

A statue depicting a Neanderthal. Scientists have discovered that Neanderthal genes passed on to modern humans could affect our likelihood of developing auto-immune diseases.

Neanderthal genes linked to diseases in modern day humans including type two diabetes

The likelihood of people developing diseases including type two diabetes and Crohn's could be affected by genes inherited from Neanderthals

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Data reveals six NHS trusts with 'persistently' high death rates

Six NHS trusts have “persistently” high death rates for patients who die in hospital or within 30 days of discharge, according to new data.

French schools battle boycott after hoax text messages warn of 'masturbation classes'

Almost half the pupils from some French primary schools were absent from class after the text messages were sent

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon (centre) welcomes delegates hoping to bring an end to Syria’s civil war to the Montreux Palace Hotel in Switzerland

Geneva talks: Give Syrians a voice

The peace talks are offering a way out of a vicious cycle, and it is one of the very few hopes for the vast majority of Syrians who reject extremism

Illnesses are good for GDP with the money drug companies and health institutions are paid to come up with new treatments

Guy Hands: No matter what the politicians say, GDP is a distorted guide to economic performance – and a bad way to measure prosperity

When running a business, you learn that nothing matters more than setting the correct objectives and making sure you keep a very close eye on the balance sheet.

The Magical Teapot, Linthill Studio, Lilliesleaf, Melrose, Scottish Borders TD6. Guide price £10,000. On with Rettie.

Property news roundup: 18% premium on properties in National Parks

Plus exchange-to-completion times, 'Granlords', and a detached teapot

Sir David Attenborough: 'I promised I would do something'

Cut childcare costs by having fewer children, says Population Matters

It's a theory that hasn't been proposed by politicians yet

This 1348 painting shows how plague devastated European cities like Florence

The Black Death: Plague that killed millions is able to rise from the dead

Black rats are also implicated in both outbreaks, which took place 800 years apart

What the Pope's green manifesto should say...
1. Introduce an international carbon tax

Francis has already used the symbolic power of his office to change attitudes

elephants in rain

Good fences make good neighbours in Kenya

Protecting habitat and engaging the local community are crucial for both rhinos and elephants, says Christian Lambrechts, the managing director of Rhino Ark

Saltwater crocodiles can weigh up to a ton

Search continues for Australian boy snatched by crocodiles

Australian police have shot dead two crocodiles after a 12-year-old boy's disappearance

Families, who had fled their homes due to fighting, return to their houses in the Barzeh neighbourhood of Damascus

Syrians return to their badly damaged homes as ceasefire makes streets safe again

For the first time in the Syrian civil war a ceasefire agreement in a Damascus district sees rebel fighters keep their weapons and control of their own neighbourhood in return for an end to the fighting. If repeated in other parts of Syria, such agreements have the potential to de-escalate violence that has left 130,000 Syrians dead.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future