Life and Style

If you are reaching for your handkerchief it might be too late to stop the spread of flu, research suggests.

Album: Nora Gubisch, Alain Altinoglu, Ravel: Mélodies
(Naïve)

Ravel effected an understated formal revolution in vocal music, the pieces performed here by mezzo-soprano Nora Gubisch with pianist Alain Altinoglu being notable for their commitment to textual interpretation rather than sheer operatic grandeur.

Sarah Kendall: Get Up, Stand-Up, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

“So what happened in the first 15 minutes, did you just not like me?” asks Sarah Kendall of her audience at the end of her show. Observational comedians are supposed to say what everyone else is thinking but on this matter, Kendall is too close to the bone: her audience tonight just don’t buy into her.

Prom 43: Grosvenor/RPO/Dutoit
Prom 44: London Sinfonietta/Academy Ensemble/de Ridder, Royal Albert Hall

Playing Liszt’s second piano concerto in last year’s opening Prom was nineteen-year-old Benjamin Grosvenor’s big coming-out, but he’s still studying at the Royal Academy, and carving out a niche combining Chopin and Liszt with light showbiz.

Last Night's Viewing: Natural World Special: Living with Baboons, BBC2
The Toilet – an Unspoken History, BBC4

Anthropomorphism fell out of favour a long time ago in natural history films, all that Disney personification being felt to get in the way of a dispassionate scientific presentation of the facts. But you wouldn't have known it from the opening lines of Rob Sullivan's Natural World Special: Living with Baboons. "As with all families, sometimes they fall out," said David Attenborough with avuncular condescension, as two hamadryas baboons tore chunks out of each other. Shortly before, he'd described the troop veterans as "wise old grandparents who've seen it all before".

Probe under way after 30 swans found dead in Cardiff

An investigation is under way after the mysterious deaths of 30 swans in Cardiff.

A farmer in the south of France says meat from cows fed with wine was ‘tasty’

The Mooo-ton Rothschild for madame? Cows have a tipple to beef up flavour

The French are known to like their beef, and they also like their wine. In the southern village of Lunel-Viel, in the Hérault department in southern France, some farmers have taken the next step and are feeding wine to their beef cattle on the principle that if French beef tastes good now, it can only improve with a bottle of Saint-Geniès des Mourgues.

The numbers of buzzards are recovering after years of decline in Britain

Another day, another U-turn – plan for buzzard cull given the bird

Controversial plans to shotgun-blast the nests of buzzards to help out pheasant shooters were abruptly dropped by the Government yesterday, 24 hours after they were extensively highlighted and criticised in i.

The numbers of buzzards are recovering after years of decline in Britain

Buzzards free to nest in peace as minister drops shooting plans

Protected birds earn reprieve after sudden U-turn

Glyndebourne's <i>Vixen</i> is a flimsy affair

The Cunning Little Vixen, Glyndebourne, East Sussex
L'Olimpiade, St John's, Smith Square, London
Jessye Norman, Royal Festival Hall, London
Bow Down, Old Municipal Market, Brighton

Glyndebourne's dreadlocks-and-driftwood Janacek misses the Slavic touch, while Harrison Birtwistle's 'opera' is simply loathsome

Street lighting is changing insect ecosystems, study claims

Street lighting is changing insect ecosystems in towns and cities, a study has found.

Badger baiter sentenced to 23 weeks

A man who urged his dog to attack and kill badgers kept footage of the brutal fights on his phone, a court heard today.

The fortunes of Vietnam’s saola, right, contrast sharply with those of Britain’s rarest butterfly, the large blue, above, which is going from strength to strength

Antelope first seen 20 years ago is on brink of extinction

Vietnam's rare mammals may be sliding towards extinction, but Britain's rarest butterfly is going from strength to strength, a series of contrasting announcements makes clear today.

Review ordered over badger cull

A judicial review is to be held into the Government's decision to allow badgers to be killed in England to halt the spread of bovine TB.

Polar bears are 450,000 years older than we thought

Endangered predator may be particularly vulnerable to rapid climate change in Arctic, experts fear

Beastly Things, By Donna Leon

I went off Donna Leon several books ago – not enough plot, too much pasta, too much family stuff, above all, an excess of the tiresomely perfect Signorina Elettra, paragon of the Venetian cop-shop. But this is a return to form. Commissario Brunetti exerts himself with a lot more policing, plus the book is written with that depth of thought about crime and humanity that characterises the best of Leon's work.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there