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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.

Scientists ‘incredibly concerned’ for fate of banana as plagues and fungus infections spread across world’s supplies

Warning comes as Costa Rica declares 'national emergency' over state of crop

Middle-class problems: No.32 - Flatmates

It’s not easy living with non-family members...

Message sent abroad by toxic debate on immigration could have a devastating effect on our economy

It’s crucial to state clearly that the benefits of legal migration outweigh the costs, and that those benefits support the Government’s strategy to get growth back into the economy

Free schools are failing meet their own targets according to Derpartment for Education figures

Over half of free schools do not attract enough pupils

Evidence shows that many new free schools are failing to meet their recruitment targets

Xhosa women inside a house in the nearby village of Mvezo, where Mandela was born

Nelson Mandela burial: Qunu awaits final return of its most famous son

Amid the squabbles and chaotic preparations, residents speak of their pride in Mandela

In the Red: Present misery will await me after a hard Christmas Day’s work

I implore you to shed none of your tinsel tears for me, but come Christmas Day – when those of you who celebrate this festival of generosity and indigestion will no doubt be up to your forehead in the high yuletide – I will be working. No intravenous eggnog for me.

Over 3,000 people are still living as patients in hospitals, one year on from Government commitments to transform adult social care in the wake of the Winterbourne View abuse scandal

One in five patients with learning disabilities live in hospitals 100km or more from their families

Thousands of patients still live in hospitals, a year on from Government promises to transform adult social care

Ded Moroz (Father Frost) meets children in Moscow. The Russian equivalent of Father Christmas has been banned from state TV in Tajikistan

Father Christmas outlawed by Tajikistan TV

The country has banned Father Frost - the Russian equivalent of Father Christmas - from appearing on state TV as the character 'bears no relation to national traditions'

Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar village

Tests have confirmed 20 people died after contracting the disease on the island

French President Francois Hollande speaks with French soldiers after he paid tribute to two French soldiers who were killed overnight, in Bangui

Mission will continue, says François Hollande as he flies in to war-torn Central African Republic

Five hundred have died in clashes between Muslims and Christians over the last week

The News Matrix: Monday 9 December 2013

Protesters topple Lenin statue in Kiev

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.

New NHS figures have revealed a surge in numbers of middle-aged patients admitted to A&E because of drug or alcohol

Middle-aged drinking and drug-taking leads to surge in hospital admissions

New NHS figures have revealed a surge in numbers of middle-aged patients admitted to A&E because of drug or alcohol.

A French soldier patrols the streets of Bangui in the Central African Republic

After days of sectarian violence, French troops bring calm to the Central African Republic

Fighting between rival militias and random attacks on civilians has killed at least 400 people in three days

Polygamous Sect Members Come Out In Mass

Polygamy offers young women of Kazakhstan a ticket out of poverty

Gulf between rich and poor fuels revival of a practice which has become a status symbol for affluent men and a ticket out of poverty for young women

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
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Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
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Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
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Sport
footballLive! Chelsea vs West Ham kicked off 10 Boxing Day matches, with Arsenal vs QPR closing the action
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peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
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Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
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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
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
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