Sport Kevin Pietersen can either wait for the IPL auction next month or play county cricket in England

Giles feels that England cannot overlook someone of Pietersen's ability given their failure to capitalise on winning positions in Australia

Stressed? You bet I was. Shark wrestler Paul Marshallsea, hailed as a hero, is sacked because he was on sick leave

62-year-old apparently risked his life grabbing a six foot shark's tail as it approached the children

Sam Woodhead, 18, was sunburnt and disoriented, but otherwise unharmed, when a helicopter spotted him

British backpacker survived outback ordeal by drinking contact lens solution and urine

18-year-old Briton is found disoriented and sunburnt three days after disappearing

Chris Robshaw has emerged as a candidate to lead the Lions

Stuart Lancaster receives assurances from Warren Gatland over selecting England players for Lions tour

The Lions coach tells his England counterpart selections will be made 'on merit and merit alone'

Sonny Bill Williams (left) and Frans Botha slug it out

Steve Bunce on Boxing: Spare the outrage over Sonny Bill's carnival fight

Sonny Bill Williams looks like he was made somewhere but I can assure you that the former New Zealand rugby league and union player was not put together in a boxing gym.

Flooded road is impassible in Bundaberg, Queensland. At least 1200 properties are already flooded, and there are fears that could reach 2000

Four die as floods strike eastern Australia

Torrential downpours have left thousands of homes flooded in eastern Australia, with more rain and high winds expected in Queensland and New South Wales.

Moment of strewth: Bernard Tomic, the only remaining home player in the Australian Open singles, was beaten in straight sets by Roger Federer

Roger Federer slams Bernard Tomic to end Australian dreams

Whether you get your news via television, radio, newspapers, the internet or simply by nattering to your neighbour over the garden fence, it has been impossible to escape Bernard Tomic for the last week here. Australia's best prospect has been the talk of the town since the start of the year and his meeting with Roger Federer in last night's showcase match in Rod Laver Arena was the most eagerly awaited match so far at this Australian Open.

Chance of a lifetime - for the marketing team: First Choice advertises for water slide tester

It is the dream job, particularly for the marketing department. A holiday company is advertising a £20,000-a-year job as a water slide tester. The company said that its previous incumbent Tommy Lynch, decided to “hang up his trunks” after four years in the post, leaving the way open for a newcomer – and a PR stunt.

World No 3 pays tribute to Davis Cup team-mate who will take break from game to battle illness

Andy Murray's 'sick friend' Ross Hutchins reveals shock cancer diagnosis

World No 3 pays tribute to Davis Cup team-mate who will take break from game to battle illness

Queensland: Deadly snakes hatch in wardrobe

As three-year-old Kyle Cumming slept peacefully in his Queensland home, a clutch of wild eggs he had discovered in his backyard were incubating in his wardrobe.

Charges of sexual harassment against the former Speaker, Peter Slipper, were thrown out as a ploy to undermine the government

'Scandal' exposed as plot to weaken Australian PM

A tumultuous year in Australian politics has ended with a court ruling that senior opposition figures conspired with a former political staffer to undermine Julia Gillard’s minority Labor government by bringing sexual harassment charges against the then parliamentary Speaker, Peter Slipper.

<b>Quade Cooper (Australia)</b><br/>
Jonny Wilkinson may have had his kicking problems, but who else but the bad-boy of SANZAR rugby could fill the number 10 slot? Cooper was the panto villain of this year's Rugby World Cup - his running feud with Richie McCaw formed the back-drop as the New Zealand born-and-raised fly-half struggled to raise his game in the face of almost constant animosity from the Kiwi crowds. It was a struggle he largely was unable to overcome. The mercurial Cooper tried too hard against Ireland and South Africa though redeemed himself a little before succumbing to a cruciate knee injury against New Zealand. And only when being carried off did the crowd acknowledge with anything other than boos.

Fly-half Quade Cooper ends speculation by signing deal with Australia

Fly-half Quade Cooper has finally ended speculation surrounding his future by signing a new two-year deal with the Australian Rugby Union and Queensland.

Winger Digby Ioane returns for Australia against England

Australia winger Digby Ioane returns for Saturday's Cook Cup clash with England at Twickenham as one of four changes to the side blitzed by France.

Australia is plunged into darkness by total solar eclipse

From boats bobbing on the Great Barrier Reef, to hot air balloons hovering over the rainforest, and the hilltops and beaches in between, tens of thousands of scientists, tourists and amateur astronomers watched as the sun, moon and Earth aligned and plunged northern Australia into darkness during a total solar eclipse today.

Ed Cowan and captain Michael Clarke lead Australia fightback against South Africa

Ed Cowan's maiden international century and an unbeaten double ton from captain Michael Clarke ensured that any hopes South Africa had of forcing a result in the first Test were all but wiped out at the Gabba after the hosts finished day four on 487 for four.

Hock ready to say adieu with victory over France before joining exodus Down Under

As far as world-class forwards are concerned, England might not be sure whether they are coming or going at Hull KR this afternoon.

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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
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
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there