Six facts about elephant families

The large mammals have intricate social networks

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in a scene from 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug'

Film review: The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug (12A) - A puffed-up dragon, but no magic

Dir. Peter Jackson;  Starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, 161mins

Three life-lessons from our best-loved fictional elephants

These elephants' messages are often a bit more complicated than your five-year-old self might have realised at the time!

The disorder makes it difficult for about one in 10 people to read

Revealed: Dyslexia caused by communication problems in brain, scientists discover

The problem lies in one part of the brain not being able to link up with another, researchers find

A teaser clip for Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac shows Shia LaBeouf and Stacy Martin engaged in sex acts

Nymphomaniac trailer shown to children at screening of Disney film Frozen

The accidental screening was said to shock the family audience

Darth Vader takes a selfie but gets the technique slightly wrong...

Star Wars launches Instagram page with Darth Vader selfie

The popular franchise is attempting to engage with younger fans of the series

Disney's Frozen is good news for little girls

Frozen has a heroine behind the scenes too; co-director and screenwriter Jennifer Lee

Glad hand: Stanley Tucci and Jennifer Lawrence in 'Hunger Games: Catching Fire'

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire breaks Thanksgiving record to take $110m

The second film in Suzanne Collins' series continues to ignite the box office

Jennifer Lee co-directed Disney’s latest feature-length animation, Frozen

Disney has some new heroines: Female directors

For the first time the film giant is allowing women to take major credits

The attraction
Harrods has opened the Disney Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique – a fairytale castle, complete with characters and dressing-up. Turn into a Disney prince or princess for the day from £100 (harrods.com/disney).
Tea and sympathy: Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson in Disney's 'Saving Mr Banks'

Saving Mr Banks: Film review - a sugar coated, disingenuous marketing exercise for Disney

(PG) John Lee Hancock, 125 mins Starring: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford

Disney's Paris park compares negatively to its US operations which have a 'can-do' reputation

Exclusive: The dark side of the Magic Kingdom?

Fairytale may be over for Disneyland Paris

Disney Miller at the opening of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles

Diane Disney Miller: Daughter of Walt Disney who spent much of her life tirelessly preserving the film mogul's legacy

Diane Disney Miller was the daughter of Walt Disney and one of his inspirations for Disneyland. "He'd take me and my sister to the merry-go-round at Griffith Park and stand there all day until we were ready to go," she recalled. "As he stood there, he kept thinking there should be more for parents and children to do together, and the idea for Disneyland was born."

York students cause offense after 'blacking up' for 'Cool Runnings' Halloween costumes

University of York is considering disciplinary action

Walt Disney seen smoking in 1946

Walt Disney’s chain-smoking habit that new film 'Saving Mr Banks' hides from view

Walt Disney was known to be an inveterate chain smoker, a habit which led to the lung cancer that would eventually kill him. Yet thanks to his own studio’s ban on screen smoking, a new film about the late Hollywood mogul will not depict him lighting up once.

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
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exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
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Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
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'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
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New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
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Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
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booksThe best children's books for this summer
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn