Environment The Nathusius’ pipistrelle weighs just 7.6g and is the size of a human thumb

A tiny bat the size of a human thumb has become the first to be recorded crossing the North Sea from Britain to mainland Europe – before meeting an untimely end in the Netherlands.

Search-and-rescue plans unveiled

Plans to keep search-and-rescue helicopter services going at four key centres were announced by the Government today.

Ministry of silly questions

Parliamentary debates give MPs the chance to hold government to account. But not all lines of inquiry are worth pursuing, as Mike Bonnet discovers

Scientists reveal glass particles 'from ash cloud'

Scientists have released photographs of what they believe are volcanic glass particles from Iceland which fell on Scotland this week.

Whale stranded in loch 'was killed by infection'

The death of a pilot whale who died off the Scottish coast was caused by an infection, a post-mortem suggested today.

Whales move into deeper water

A pod of pilot whales at risk of beaching themselves in shallow waters off the Western Isles have "calmed down" overnight, rescuers said today.

2012 Olympic torch route revealed

London 2012's Olympic torch relay will start in Land's End and travel as far as the outer Hebrides on an 8,000-mile journey to the stadium.

Overcrowded, overpriced and overrated: welcome to Britain

Lonely Planet's latest verdict may burst the royal wedding tourism bubble

Scottish Lib Dem leader steps down

The leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats has stepped down from his post after a "disastrous" result for the party in the Scottish Parliament elections.

PM urged to improve Scotland Bill

The Prime Minister has been asked to reappraise his position on Scotland's financial and constitutional future following a landslide victory for the SNP.

SNP secures majority election win

The SNP has secured an unprecedented victory by taking a majority of seats in the Scottish Parliament election.

Union leaders warn over coastguard cuts

Government proposals to cut the number of round-the-clock coastguard centres could put lives at risk, a union leader told MPs today.

The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim, By Jonathan Coe

A perceptive Prius odyssey

Britain’s finest produce faces long, hard road to gain legal recognition of its name in Europe

They might be just two fledgling cheeses, but Traditional Ayrshire Dunlop and Orkney Island cheddar could soon have a mighty ally – protection from the European Union. The Dunlop and the Cheddar (which, presumably, will upset those in the West Country who believe cheddar comes only from near the Somerset village of that name), are among the latest British applicants for Protected Food Name status, which gives them a legal defence against imitation.

Ancient site on heritage list

The spectacular Jarlshof archaeological dig in the Shetland Islands is one of 11 sites on a list for consideration for Unesco world heritage status. The Jarlshof excavations have revealed evidence of human habitation stretching from the Bronze Age to the 17th Century. Also on the list are the UK Overseas Territories of St Helena in the South Atlantic and the Turks and Caicos Islands Ben Curtis/pa

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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
Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
Fifa corruption: Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

Strip Qatar of the World Cup? Not likely

But if a real smoking gun is found, that might change things, says Tom Peck
Twenty two years later Jurassic Park series faces questions over accuracy of the fictional dinosaurs in it

Tyrannosaurus wrecked?

Twenty two years on, Jurassic Park faces questions over accuracy
The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
Genes greatly influence when and how many babies a woman will have, study finds

Mother’s genes play key role in decision to start a family

Study's findings suggest that human fertility is still evolving
12 best olive oils

Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
Rafa Benitez Real Madrid unveiling: New manager full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

Benitez full of emotion at Bernabeu homecoming

There were tears in the former Liverpool manager’s eyes as he was unveiled as Real Madrid coach. But the Spaniard knows he must make tough decisions if he is to succeed
England can win the Ashes – and Elvis Presley will present the urn

England can win the Ashes – and Elvis will present the urn

In their last five Test, they have lost two and drawn two and defeated an India side last summer who thought that turning up was competing, says Stephen Brenkley
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)