Woodland birds on route to extinction as numbers dive

Birds of Britain's woodlands are declining so rapidly that some appear to be on the road to extinction, a study reveals today.

Album: The Hold Steady, Stay Positive (Vagrant)

The Hold Steady, for the inattentive, are a Brooklyn quintet whose sound fuses Eighties hardcore with bar-room blues: imagine Hüsker Dü meets the E Street Band. Their USP is that their major players were already well into their thirties when the band formed, and are now staring down the barrel of 40.

Plum sherbet

Serves 4

My Mentor: Caroline Flack on Leigh Francis

'Leigh is really supportive and honest. he watches everything i do'

John Walsh: Tales from Hay-on-Wye

'From his wheelchair, Gore Vidal glowered indignantly, like a man who had been exhumed against his will'

Der Rosenkavalier, Coliseum, London

In the final scene of Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, just as the Marschallin is about to leave her lover, Octavian, to the younger woman, she says to Sophie: "No need to talk so much. You're pretty, that's enough." But is it? For those who hope that Octavian will come to his senses and leave the air-headed ingnue before it's too late, David McVicar's production plants some hopeful clues. Indeed, Octavian only just stops short of following the Marschallin out of that final scene, almost sparing us that saccharin duet between the young lovers. I reckon McVicar gives them about a month together.

Michael McCarthy - Migration: 'One of earth's great wonders'

The African-Eurasian bird migration system is one of the earth's great wonders, a gigantic signal of spring and autumn in the northern hemisphere.

Jimmy Choo feud: Tamara sticks boot in on mother with £5m action

They say that a foxy pair of heels can give a woman a lot of confidence. It therefore makes sense that Tamara Mellon, the entrepreneur behind Jimmy Choo shoes, has confidence in spades. It showed when she divorced her husband, the Pittsburgh banking heir Matthew Taylor Mellon III, in 2005. It showed again a year ago when she took him to court, accused of hacking into her computer. He was released on the grounds that he was too stupid to have done it – he must have been wearing something scuffed from Clark's. It showed, too, when she named her daughter Araminta Mellon, which some recall as a 1970s dessert.

The Investment Column: Housing crisis is bad news for Taylor Wimpey

Northern Foods; Travelzest

Johannesburg: Capital of sub-Saharan Africa

Cairo may outshine Johannesburg as capital of the continent of Africa (see table), but the sub-Saharan prize is, from a visitor's point of view, arguably more important. For all its flaws and fractures, Johannesburg has transformed itself from outcast to world class in less than two decades and is way ahead of the likes of Lagos, Nairobi and Addis Ababa. Built on the world's most productive reef of gold, it has been a centre of wealth and opportunity since the first prospectors started digging in the 1880s, but its development was hampered by that crude ideology, apartheid. Only after 1994, when Nelson Mandela began shaping the new "rainbow nation", could Johannesburg look the rest of the world in the eye.

Close-up: Claire Ptak

Chez Panisse couldn't hold on to this pastry chef. Can east London do better?

The company that ate itself: How a lack of dough turned into a crisis for Krispy Kreme

At the Krispy Kreme shop in Washington's Dupont Circle yesterday morning a steady stream of customers were making their way inside to get their hands on the freshly cooked doughnuts. "I come here every morning for two of them," admitted a guilty-sounding Maneda Harrington, a 28-year-old accountant. "They're delicious."

Victoria Wood and co. take 'Acorn Antiques' to West End as musical

They ate their first macaroons together nearly 20 years ago and now they are reuniting to do so again. But this time the cast of "Acorn Antiques" will be all-singing and dancing as Victoria Wood has turned her spoof soap sketches into a musical.

Snail porridge? It's a matter of taste

The world's best chefs are embracing molecular gastronomy - the combination of odd ingredients to stunning effect. But can you cook it at home, asks Christopher Hirst

Nestlé feels the chill as ice cream sales melt

Nestlé joined its rival Unilever in blaming cool European weather for poor second-quarter sales, as demand for ice cream melted.

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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 1 May 2015
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