News Hop to it: The penguin parade has been of the daily highlights at Edinburgh Zoo since the first one happened by accident in 1951

They remain one of its most popular attractions

Dunelm Mill coastal living: £19.99, dunelm-mill.com, pale blues and stained wood help to give this space a coastal feel. A Dunelm Mill Cool Lagoon cushion finishes off the scheme

Window shopping: A wave of designers are being inspired by the seaside

What do mermaids, anchors, sea horses and shells have in common? Apart from their watery heritage, they all feature large on fashion collections for spring/summer 2012.

Stormy seas batter the stricken container ship Rena which has been wedged on a reef off New Zealand’s North Island for the past three months

Oil spill disaster threatens New Zealand

New Zealand braced for a new oil spill last night after a storm broke up a cargo ship that has caused the country's worst maritime environmental disaster.

The mysterious bird deaths inspired Hichcock's film, The Birds

Mystery behind Hitchcock's Birds is solved at last

Scientists link eerie avian suicides of 1961, which inspired cinema classic, to poison in the food chain

Anna Calvi says of Wild Beasts: 'Their album Smother is great. It's full of subtleties; chords are implied rather than over-emphasised, and the drums are integral to the melodic interest of each song.'

The sounds and songs the stars fell in love with in 2011

Anna Calvi, Ghostpoet and Leslie Feist all made great albums this year. Here, they and others pick the music that rocked their year

Gripping yarn: Katherine Parkinson

'I prefer a less polite laugh'

Katherine Parkinson stars in a Dickens spoof over Christmas, then takes on Ayckbourn. Cosy comedy's not for this cerebral soul, as Alice Jones discovers

Gripping yarn: Katherine Parkinson

'I prefer a less polite laugh': Why cosy comedy's not for cerebral soul Katherine Parkinson

Parkinson stars in a Dickens spoof over Christmas, then takes on Ayckbourn.

DVD: Mr Popper's Penguins, For retail & rental (20th Century Fox)

When Jim Carrey inherits six penguins – don't ask – his children adore the flatulent little critters, so Carrey agrees to keep them, even if that means filling his swanky apartment with ice, snow and bird droppings.

DVD: Mr Popper's Penguins (PG)

Back in the mid noughties, you couldn't move for marching and dancing penguins, so there's something vaguely out-of-date about this Jim Carrey kids book adaptation.

Wild and wonderful: Scotland’s snow-capped peaks

Scotland: The perfect winter getaway

It's St Andrew's Day, a reminder that Scotland is now at its atmospheric best. Here's how to enjoy the majestic scenery – and stay warm at the same time

Football league round-up: LuaLua signs for Brighton

Kazenga LuaLua has joined Brighton on a permanent basis from Newcastle, having been on loan with the npower Championship side for the first part of the season.

E Jane Dickson: Some 'gay rights' just can't be infringed

Notebook: Who's to say Pedro and Buddy are not happy to bat for the other side?
Once more unto the beach: Massimo Vitali's 'Il Ciolo, Puglia' (2010)

Massimo Vitali: The seaside snapper who's making waves

When Silvio Berlusconi won the Italian election in 1994, Massimo Vitali packed his camera and headed to the beach. "I wanted to see who had voted for him," says the photographer. "It was such a shock for me when he won." Vitali, 67, has been working on his beach series ever since – setting up his large-format (11in by 14in) camera on clifftops or assembling 20ft-high scaffolding to shoot his "sociological" seaside panoramas.

Editor-At-Large: Seems we'll use any word today except a word of kindness

Ricky Gervais is smart – not a bully or a bigot, even though recent events might indicate otherwise. Now he's apologised for using the word "mong", let's get the affair in perspective. Sure, he was naïve, and posting oafish pictures on Twitter was dumb. They attracted a storm of protest – and Gervais was even accused of ramping up the controversy to promote his new television series. But after Nicola Clark, the mother of two teenage girls with severe autism, cried on the Jeremy Vine radio show as she described the insults she's had to deal with from the public, Ricky contacted her and they talked privately and he said sorry. He then offered her a "very public thank you" on Twitter. Unlike Frankie Boyle, with his revolting comments about Katie Price's disabled son Harvey, Ricky knows when to admit he got it wrong.

A patter of Happy Feet – and an emperor returns to the sea

He needed a little push before speeding backward down a makeshift slide.

Maggot, By Paul Muldoon

With sounds like these, who needs understanding?
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried