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This millennium, Britain’s dragonfly contingent has been in the throes of revolution. Several sparkling species have crossed the sea to start colonising the UK. In this ambitious itinerary, you might see up to seven magnificent dragonflies unknown in Britain two decades previously.

The former Liberal Democrat party leader Paddy Ashdown said he was 'very upset' after being involved in a fatal three-vehicle collision

Paddy Ashdown car crash: Former Lib Dem leader involved in accident which killed a 49-year-old man

Lord Ashdown said he was left ‘very upset’ after being involved in fatal incident

Syrian President Bashar Assad visits army and security soldiers wounded in the civil war at al-Youssef al-Azmah Hospital in Damascus

Syria conflict: Hospitals fill up with wounded soldiers as civil war drags on

Fighting in the country is now thought to have claimed 130,000 lives. But what about those who lived, yet suffered life-changing injuries? Patrick Cockburn meets some of those survivors in Damascus

Beak season: Pink-footed geese are found inland

Wildlife Weekend: Wintering birds in the Kingdom of Fife

Spend most of the first day in Largo Bay, south-west of Kirkcaldy. There may be no finer location to watch the wintering seaduck for which Scotland is renowned. If the tide is high and the sun shining, start with the light behind you at the bay’s eastern edge, Ruddon’s Point. Look westwards for dense black rafts of scoters, mainly common scoter. A flash of white wings draws your attention to velvet scoters secreted among them. Check the flock carefully and you could even see surf scoter. There is no more regular British site for this North American visitor.

Taxi firm in Middlesbrough attacked for refusing to carry disabled passengers

Owner of largest firm in the North East of England concedes move is 'morally wrong' but he says had no choice but to act after local authority warns operators over charging disabled passengers extra

Voices in Danger: For putting on a play, Carlos Santos was tortured by an El Salvador death squad

“I still have the scars on my hands from when I was hung from the roof”

High-end burger restaurants such as the Garage Grill in Tehran have enjoyed huge success in recent months

Nothing quite like a McAli’s burger... Iran’s foodies opt for taste of America with a glut of high-end grill restaurants in Tehran

Upmarket grills adorned with Americana are proving a hit in wealthy areas, finds Jason Rezaian in Tehran

A Cuban attempts to repair his old car in Havana on the day the free sale of cars in Cuba was officially authorized.

Cubans allowed to buy new and used cars - but at hugely inflated prices

Buyers are faced with a 400 per cent mark-up

A Sunni Muslim fighter looks at a burning police vehicle during clashes in Ramadi

Iraqis battle al-Qa'ida militant uprising in Ramadi and Fallujah

Iraqi security forces and allied tribesmen battled on Thursday to put down al-Qa'ida-linked gunmen who, in a coordinated surge, ran rampant in two of the country's main Sunni cities, overrunning police stations and sweeping through the streets, emboldened by mounting sectarian tensions between minority Sunnis and the Shiite-led government.

A holiday with sparkle: Get into the festive spirit with a visit to Europe's finest spots for fizz

It's easier than ever to cut straight to the source of Europe's wine regions

Ethan Couch from Texas has been sentenced to ten years probation after mowing down four pedestrians while drunk

Ethan Couch: Texas quadruple murderer – or a victim of ‘affluenza’?

Texan teen given parole after mowing down four people while drunk – but his family is so wealthy he believed his actions had no consequences

Sean Emmett with Abbie before tragedy struck

Superbike racer arrested on UK return after wife died in Dubai

Sean Emmett had been unable to leave the United Arab Emirates for 10 months as police had confiscated his passport following the death of his wife, who fell several floors from a hotel

Peter Higgs is to be honoured with a new £11m space technology centre named after him

Autumn Statement 2013: New space technology centre to be named after Peter Higgs, the father of the 'God particle'

Chancellor announces new £11m 'Higgs Centre for Innovation'

Cobalt-60 theft: Lorry transporting radioactive cargo found EMPTY in Mexico, but hijackers expected to die within days

Radiation levels could be so intense that criminals only have days to live

Autumn Statement 2013: Car tax disc scrapped after 93 years

For more than 90 years, all vehicles on British roads have been required to display a tax disc.

Paul Walker death: Star of Fast & Furious films killed in Los Angeles car crash

The other victim of the crash was professional race car driver Roger Rodas

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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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
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

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Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick