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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.

2013 Anniversary Games: Golden summer memories come crowding back at the Olympic Stadium

They started filing happily into their seats not long after four o'clock,  having made it past the clowns cavorting at the entrance gates – positioned perhaps in case anyone should be seen daring not to smile – and were still there six hours later, possibly wearied by the endless Britpop pumped around the stadium but still revelling in what was.

Fugitives Adrian Albrecht, left, and Milan Poparovic who escaped from a Swiss prison on Thursday

Pink Panther jewel thief breaks out of Swiss jail

Notorious gang behind robberies worth £200m used ladder to climb over prison fence

Postcard from... Belgium

A rebel uses a home-made slingshot to fire a bomb

Homemade grenades and catapults: Introducing the DIY weapons of the Free Syrian Army

Distribution remains haphazard among the various battalions and  some of them have to rely on a cottage industry to provide themselves with arms

The transit van is no longer a minor British institution

Manufacturing: Keep Britain moving... with Turkish Transit vans

White van men across the country will be bereft. The mighty Ford Transit van, so loved by tradesmen and small-business owners, is no longer a minor British institution.

Dog hit by car; master savaged by villagers

'Take him to the vet immediately,' he said, as though talking to some urban thicko

Stena Match Cup: Knocked-out Ian Williams forced to sit by and watch semi-finalists race in Marstrand's sunshine and good winds

Ian Williams is not a happy man. The reigning world match race champion and his Team GAC Pindar crashed out of the Stena Match Cup at the quarter-final stage and then had to watch as the semi-finalists enjoyed brilliant, even testing breezes.

Tour de France 2013: Mark Cavendish narrowly misses out on back-to-back victories

The Manxman finished fourth in Montpellier

The peloton makes its way through Corsica’s rolling hills

Tour de France 2013: Geraint Thomas scrapes past pain barrier

Sky rider refuses to quit despite severe injury as Gerrans wins stage in Corsican hills

An airliner is distorted by the heat waves rising up from the north runway at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix

Flights cancelled in South-west American heatwave, but you can bake biscuits on your dashboard

In Arizona zookeepers fed tigers frozen fish while meteorologists baked biscuits in their van

Lining them up at Five Guys Burgers and Fries in New York

Byron? Pah! Can you do posher than George?

Our writers review their favourite burger joints...

Review: Modernity Britain, Opening the Box 1957-59, By David Kynaston

It was goodbye to post-war austerity in the Fifties, as shopping malls and skyscrapers arrived – and 'The Billy Cotton Band Show' made way for Elvis

Margareta Pagano: Look to the past for high street's future

British shoppers are a fickle bunch. We moan ad nauseam about the high street's death yet as a nation we are the world's most avid online shoppers. As latest sales showed, online is booming.

Bon Jovi performing at the Isle of Wight festival

Isle of Wight Festival 2013: Sun shone on Bon Jovi despite forecasts of a wash-out

The sun kept shining on revellers as they enjoyed the final day of the Isle of Wight Festival, headlined by Bon Jovi.

Foreign field: the war cemetry at St Symphorien

Mons: Relics and remembrance

Mons combines modern vitality with nods to its sombre past. By Emily Reynolds

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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
Spain
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