Birds may use cigarette ends to protect chicks

It sounds like a surreal urban myth: birds in cities may be deliberately incorporating cigarette ends into their nests to ward off insect parasites. But scientists in Mexico offer compelling evidence that it is true.

The house finch has learned to make the most of street litter - including cigarette ends

Marlboro palace: how city birds feather their nests

Nicotine-rich cigarette ends that repel parasites are the perfect building material for finches

So Australia are banning branded packaging on cigarettes, why not go one further and ban all of our vices?

The new anti-smoking laws in Australia will strip packs of all branding, bright colours and logos.

Alcohol still discovered in garden shed

Officials have warned of the dangers of illegal alcohol following the discovery of a home-made still in a garden shed.

Diseased feet, sick babies and dying cancer sufferers: The gruesome new packaging set to become mandatory for Australia's cigarettes

The new anti-smoking laws, which are the most Draconian in the world, strip packs of all branding, bright colours and logos

Smoking bans pick up momentum on US college campuses despite protests

George Washington University officials decided to announce the coming of an on-campus smoking ban during the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout on November 15. Before they could do so, dozens of students and staff members were lighting up in protest.

5.7m smuggled cigarettes found hidden in lorry meant to be carrying children's play equipment

More than 5.7 million smuggled cigarettes have been found by Border Force officers in a lorry that was meant to be carrying children's play equipment.

Tobacco firms warn of flood of illegal cigarettes into UK

The number of cigarettes bought in the UK which have avoided duty and taxes is set to soar, one of the country's top three manufacturers has warned.

Man's body found in Lancashire after 2005 murder

Police have found a body in the hunt for a man whose disappearance seven years ago resulted in his girlfriend's ex-husband being jailed for murder.

A Royal Flying Corps pilot adjusts his camera. Below: an aerial photo of German and British trenches

New European archive collects untold stories of the First World War

Thousands of moving war stories are being unearthed in a drive to gather a vast collection of First World War memorabilia from across Europe.

Lamb, By Bonnie Nadzam

This daring, disturbing first novel imagines the friendship of a child and an older man
A new survey says half of all American smokers have tried to quit

More than half US smokers have tried to quit

More than half of American smokers tried to quit the habit as the daily use of cigarettes fell, US health officials say.

Postcard from... Paris

Last week, a war was declared in Paris. The mayor has taken it upon his council to wipe out all cigarette butts that litter his city's streets.

Woman jailed after torturing 15-year-old boy by forcing him to lick up his blood and drink his own urine

A woman who tortured a teenage boy by making him drink his own urine and lick up his blood has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Vodka continutes to take its death toll on Russians

Putin wages war on vodka as lifestyle death toll at 90,000

Vladimir Putin is waging the biggest public health drive since former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev failed to wean his country off alcohol abuse with a crackdown on tobacco and drink.

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No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor