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Scientists observed snakes "slithering" through the air to stay aloft

'I'm a Marine get me out of here!': Stomach-churning images show US soldiers drinking cobra blood

Soldiers pictured are among 13,000 taking part in an annual jungle challenge

A life as dramatic as any of her songs: McCready in Nashville in 2000

Mindy McCready: Talented but troubled country singer

In 1996 Mindy McCready burst on to the American country music scene with her album Ten Thousand Angels, and a No 1 single, "Guys Do It All the Time". She was a troubled individual and the pressures of success only compounded her problems. She described her own existence as "a whirlwind of chaos" – and after a life as dramatic as any of her songs, McCready apparently took her own life on 17 February.

Performers are seen during preparations for Chinese New Year in Chinatown

Exit the Dragon, enter the Snake! It's Chinese New Year

Today marks the start of the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Snake – and the capital is hosting what the Greater London Authority claims is the largest celebration outside Asia.

Sssssssshhhhhh he's trying to read: As China prepares for the year of the snake pictures show a zoo owner's remarkable relationship with the creatures

As China prepares to welcome in the year of the snake, pictures have been published showing one zoo owner in the Philippines who has an extraordinarily close relationship with the creatures.

Douglas Gordon's latest film will be unveiled to audiences at the Berlin Film Festival next month

Losing it in Laos: An adventure in Vang Vieng that almost went down the tubes

It's tough to recall after almost 10 years what posed the greatest risk in the flooded cave in which I'd become hopelessly lost: the darkness or the snake that patrolled black pools of frigid water. I was in Laos and a place I would later regret visiting. Vang Vieng used to be a sleepy river village in country known for its calm and natural beauty. Then came tubing. Every day, scores of feckless backpackers in bikinis and boardshorts float down the Nam Song on tractor inner tubes, turning pink as they guzzle cheap beer and leap off rocks. As the activity boomed, so did the number of 'happy' pizzas and vomiting teenagers, helping to turn the town into an ugly scar on the southeast Asia traveller trail.

The Fashion Audit: Longchamp, python-embossed manicure and cuddly companions

What we love, we're not sure about, we're buying and can't wait for...

A spring in your step

Forget the dregs of the winter sales and inject your wardrobe with some of the biggest trends of the pre-collections, says Gemma Hayward

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.

A not-so-new dawn for the Japanese

Shinzo Abe has promised to restore his country's fortunes. By David McNeill in Tokyo
Newly elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promised to restore his country’s fortunes via a huge spending drive and a more aggressive foreign policy

Can Japan's new leader make the nation rise again?

Newly elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promised to restore his country's fortunes via a huge spending drive and a more aggressive foreign policy. So could he succeed? David McNeill reports

James frontman Tim Booth talks snakes, near death experiences and trance states

'She's A Star' singer says James' upcoming new album is infused with sadness

A splash of the special treatment

From peppermint facials to artificial ice caves, Juliet Kinsman hits the on-trend spas

A genetically modified cow that produces milk for allergic children

Must Watch: Anaconda is filmed regurgitating an entire cow

Ever feel so hungry you could eat an entire cow? One anaconda did*.

Helen Flanagan leaves I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!

After tears, fears, bush tucker trials, fake tan and hugs, the Coronation Street star is out of there

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Day In a Page

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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 15 May 2015
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?