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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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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
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'